Eric S. Engel

Contact Eric S. Engel

Phone: 310-998-9100
E-Mail: e.engel@conklelaw.com
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Conkle, Kremer & Engel, PLC
3130 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 500
Santa Monica, California
90403

Eric S. Engel

Eric Engel has represented clients in complex business litigation in state and federal courts for over 35 years as lead counsel in jury and bench trials, arbitrations and mediations.  His appellate practice includes briefing and arguing to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal and the California Court of Appeal, and briefing to the California Supreme Court, several cases of first impression.

Eric’s cases include prosecution and defense of all types of commercial disputes, including breach of contract claims, fraud, civil racketeering (RICO), partnership disputes, manufacturer-distributor relations, sales commission issues, professional liability, trade secret misappropriation, intellectual property, right of publicity, unfair competition, insurance bad faith, and real estate disputes.  Eric is on the short list of “Rep-Savvy Attorneys” recommended by Manufacturers & Agents National Association (MANA) for particular expertise in sales representative issues.

Experience, Presentations and Publications

Representative Engagements

  • Lead counsel for plaintiff in action for misappropriation of right of publicity, involving two jury trials, intervention, and two appeals. Achieved trial judgment and three attorneys’ fee awards, plus two separate settlements that resolved three cases, for a net recovery in seven figures.
  • Lead counsel for landlord in bench trial of complex litigation of commercial leases arising from sale of business, prevailing on all claims and obtaining attorneys’ fee award.
  • Obtained summary judgment against utility and design patent infringement claims for major personal care manufacturer and leading national resellers, followed by attorneys’ fee award as an “exceptional case.”
  • Lead counsel for major personal care products manufacturer in multi-jurisdictional litigation with a putative partner who claimed ownership of half the multi-national business.  Obtained complete dismissal of putative partner’s claims and an award of 7-figure attorneys’ fees against the claimant.
  • Lead counsel in jury trial resulting in $6.2 million judgment for sales representative who was refused his commissions.  Judgment upheld on appeal in the first California precedent affirming right to treble damages for breach of sales commission contract.
  • Settled claims of commissioned sales representative deprived of commission and terminated after massive multi-phase Apple projects were obtained by manufacturer in the sales rep’s territory.
  • Obtained first published decisions against Groupon and others establishing that gray market foreign-labeled goods infringe the U.S. trademark owners’ rights even if the contents are identical to U.S. goods.
  • Obtained first published decision establishing that it is a crime and unfair competition in California to possess or transact personal care products with manufacturers’ codes removed or altered.
  • Obtained published federal court decision that retailers can be liable for interference with contract for sales of diverted, decoded and counterfeit products.
  • Obtained first published decision in California establishing that the right of publicity is an assignable claim, and not preempted by U.S. copyright laws.
  • Litigated right of publicity claims of models used by a major social media company as the face of its brand, resulting in a favorable settlement despite the models having signed releases.
  • Successfully defended California Consumer Legal Remedies Act class action against non-profit for false advertising, obtaining dismissal after defeating motion to certify a class.
  • Successfully prosecuted trademark infringement action for charity, obtaining settlement surrendering defendant’s infringing trademark and domain name.
  • Defended customer claims against contract manufacturer for misrepresenting product ingredients, achieving settlement and successful arbitration against insurer for net-zero loss to client.
  • Represented wholesale personal care products distributor in RICO litigation against international manufacturer in termination dispute, and obtained a judgment and monetary recovery against manufacturer.
  • Won arbitration award determining that manufacturer did not need good cause or prior notice to terminate distributor.
  • Represented food manufacturer in multi-jurisdiction action to defend claims of misappropriation of trade secret recipes asserted by former partner.
  • Prevailed in trial to judicial referee in food distributor’s requirements contract termination lawsuit against major West Coast restaurant chain, leading to favorable settlement.
  • Represented commercial building owners in litigation with management company and insurer after owners suffered liability to tenant.  Established that insurer breached its duty to defend building owners, leading to favorable settlement.
  • Established at trial that plaintiff had destroyed computer and physical evidence, leading to dismissal of claims that commercial machinery distributor had committed fraud and breached warranties in sale.
  • Defeated summary judgment motion by Bank of America to enforce its standard loan guarantee, resulting in dismissal of guarantor for nominal settlement.
  • Prevailed on appeal of professional liability action, resulting in $4 million recovery against international law firm.
  • Obtained steeply discounted settlement for partners in Small Business Investment Company against claims by SBA for unfunded capital contributions.
  • Won arbitrations awarding transfers of ownership of disputed Internet domain name for trademark owners.
  • Prosecuted claims against national banks for negligence and banking law liability for negotiating embezzled checks written by manufacturer’s bookkeeper over several years, resulting in settlement that recovered all embezzlement losses.
  • Defended and settled contract interference and trade secret misappropriation when telephone and data equipment reseller hired key employees from a failing business that was later acquired by a competitor.

Presentations

  • “Emerging Legal Issues in Counterfeiting and Brand Protection,” Personal Care Products Council, November 2019
  • California Lobby Day advocate for Personal Care Products Council, 2018 & 2019
  • “Collecting from Principals,” Electronics Representatives Association Southern California Owner’s Forum, 2014

Publications

  • “Sales Reps Should Think About the End at the Beginning,” (Co-Author) Agency Sales Magazine, September 2019
  • “Accord and Satisfaction: How to Avoid the Surprising Elimination of Your Claims for Unpaid Commissions,” Agency Sales Magazine, July 2019
  • “Trade Secret Protection Terms in Rep Agreements,” Agency Sales Magazine, November 2016
  • “Limiting the Risks of Restraint of Trade and Trade Secret Protection Terms in Rep Agreements,” Agency Sales Magazine, October 2016
  • “Prove It! Why Reps and Principals Need to Keep the Evidence,” Agency Sales Magazine, May 2015
  • Featured in “Fallout from an Oral Contract,” Agency Sales Magazine, January 2014
  • “Breach of Oral Contract, Treble Damages,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, August 13, 2013
  • “Advertising and Marketing on Cable Television: Whither the Public Interest?,” 31 Catholic University Law Review 227 (1982) (Co-Author)

Education

  • George Washington University School of Law, J.D., with honors, 1982
  • University of California at Los Angeles, B.A., cum laude, 1979

Professional Associations

  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Beverly Hills Bar Association

Admissions

  • State Bar of California, 1982
  • Bar of District of Columbia, 1985
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • All Federal Courts in California

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