- Proved at trial that a trust which substantially disinherited client was procured by undue influence. The trial judge invalidated the challenged trust and awarded client attorneys’ fees based on a finding of opponents’ financial elder abuse.
- Secured dismissal of federal action with no payment by biotechnology client in trade secret suit targeting client's novel technology used for processing biofuels.
- Settled multi-year trade secret and breach of contract action concerning client's semiconductor manufacturing technology for less than 1% of plaintiff's claimed damages.
- Achieved complete victory prior to trial for investment bank client accused of misleading investors regarding prospects of merger of technology companies.
John concentrates his practice in estate, trust and fiduciary litigation. In the context of individual beneficiaries and fiduciaries, John has represented petitioners and respondents in matters involving allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, trustee removal and surcharge, the validity of testamentary documents, prosecuting and defending against claims of financial abuse, disputes concerning the characterization and distribution of trust and estate property, and the settlement of fiduciary accounting controversies.
John also counsels corporate and professional fiduciaries in acrimonious beneficiary and co-trustee relationships, non-adversarial and adversarial court petition work, trust interpretation issues, fiduciary liability assessment and settlement implementation. John’s breadth of experience is especially valuable from the perspective of institutional fiduciaries seeking to minimize liability and accurately administer complex trust arrangements.
Prior to focusing his practice in estate, trust and fiduciary litigation, John represented both plaintiffs and defendants across a range of business litigation matters. He favorably resolved disputes concerning trade secrets and trademarks, unfair competition, fraud, breach of contract, and corporate dissolution, among many others. He has represented individuals and businesses in numerous industries including technology, real estate and financial, and worked with companies across the growth spectrum from startups to Fortune 500 businesses.
After graduating from law school, John served as a federal court law clerk in San Francisco for the Honorable Martin J. Jenkins of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Prior to joining Carr McClellan in 2008, John practiced for five years at the international law firm of Latham & Watkins LLP, where he litigated intellectual property and business disputes.
Probate Litigation Expertise:
- Fiduciary dispute issues
- Fiduciary liability assessment and minimization
- Trustee removal and surcharge actions
- Trust and will challenges (undue influence, lack of mental capacity, etc.)
- Financial abuse
- Trust interpretation controversies
- Trust accounting issues
Business Litigation Expertise:
- Intellectual property
- Corporate dissolution
- Unfair competition
- Breach of contract
- Partnership disputes
- Complex arbitration matters
- J.D., cum laude, University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 2002
Senior Editor, Hastings Law Journal
- B.A., Law and Society, with high honors, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1997
Experience and affiliations
- State Bar of California | Trusts and Estates Section
- San Mateo County Bar Association | Estate Planning Probate Section
- Silicon Valley Bar Association
Civic and Charitable
- Parks and Recreation Foundation of San Carlos | Vice President & Board Member
Recent Speaking Engagements
Is It Open Season on Wills and Trusts? Advising Clients and Minimizing Litigation Under the New No Contest Statutory Regime. San Mateo County Bar Association, Estate Planning Probate Section (July 12, 2012).
Trade Secret Protection For Customer Lists
Effective January 1, 2010: Change In Law Relating To “No Contest” Clauses
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