News & Press

Partners Gary Hoffman and Tracy Hughes Obtain Defense Verdict in Multi-Million Dollar Conversion and Trespass Case

Plaintiff claimed that Defendants entered her storage unit and misappropriated her extensive and valuable professional photography materials, including photography equipment and thousands of invaluable photographic negatives. She sought damages in excess of $6 million as well as punitive damages. Defendants denied that any of the claimed items were within the storage unit or that they discarded any of the items. Rather, Defendants argued that Plaintiff staged the disappearance of the items after being scorned by Defendants’ rental increase of the storage unit. Following a two-week bench trial, esteemed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff issued a 36-page written decision finding in favor of Defendants on all causes of action. The ruling established the application of the doctrine of judicial estoppel on Plaintiff’s damages claims due to her failure to disclose these substantial assets in a prior Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. The court also concluded the plaintiff’s testimony lacked credibility. As a result, Judge Beckloff determined that Defendants were entitled to judgment, on the merits, as Plaintiff failed to establish her burden of proof. Because Plaintiff failed to accept Defendants’ pretrial statutory 998 offer, Defendants are entitled to, and will pursue, their costs, inclusive of considerable expert fees.