The members of Kirk & Simas’s litigation practice are not just litigators, they are first rate trial advocates. Every year, Firm attorneys try numerous cases to verdict. Firm attorneys have argued cases in front of federal and state trial courts, in front of administrative law judges and in non-judicial forums such as before government agencies and in arbitration. With local businesses at the core of the Firm’s practice, Kirk & Simas’s litigators think like businessmen and women and are trained to evaluate actual and potential litigation at the earliest stages, to first determine if litigation can be avoided, or, if it is filed, whether the matter can be resolved quickly and economically. The Firm’s range of focused litigation disciplines include:
Central Coast businesses and the families behind them are Kirk & Simas’s core clients. Accordingly, the Firm’s litigation team has extensive experience defending and prosecuting complex commercial and business disputes for business clients, including ones involving: unfair competition, breach of contract, breach of warranty or representation, fraud, bankruptcy claims, UCC liens, business dissolution disputes, negligence and breach of fiduciary duty, slander and libel, Prop 65, trade secret violations, and more.
REAL PROPERTY MATTERS
While the Firm’s real estate transaction team helps clients minimize the potential risk of litigation when structuring deals, situations can arise where disputes are unavoidable. In such circumstances, the Firm will litigate for clients in all phases of the real estate business cycle and for the spectrum of industry stakeholders including: lenders, developers, sellers, buyers, private equity funds, landlords, and brokers. Firm attorney experience includes cases before arbitration, state, federal and bankruptcy courts and encompasses virtually every type of real estate-related dispute—from disputes concerning project financing, to construction litigation (claims among construction participants, as well as construction defect litigation), easements and title disputes, leases, restrictive covenants, ADA compliance, and disputes between commercial landlords and tenants, buyers and sellers of real estate, and participants within an ownership group.
Kirk & Simas’s multi-discipline services for business clients include a robust unlawful detainer practice. Firm litigators represent small and large scale landlords and property managers of commercial, agricultural, condominium, and multi-tenant residential properties, as well as post-foreclosure property owners. Firm litigators are versed in alternative resolution techniques to move tenants out and restore possession immediately; however, if litigation is necessary our Firm attorneys are experienced at guiding clients through the unlawful detainer minefield that often traps the unwary and many inexperienced attorneys. Firm staff can additionally prosecute post-judgment collections efforts to obtain the unpaid rent and other costs due to landlords after the tenant is removed from possession.
TRUST AND PROBATE DISPUTES
The Firm’s trust and estates attorneys have a long track record of successfully resolving estate administration disputes using informal means to save clients time, emotion and money. Kirk & Simas represents grantors and beneficiaries, including high-net-worth individuals and their families, corporate trustees such as banks and trust companies, executors, trustees, administrators and other fiduciaries, as well as non-profit organizations. Firm attorneys combine in-depth understanding of trust and estate law with decades of experience in litigation procedure and tactics, much of which is unique to trust and estate disputes. The end result is a more expert, more efficient and more responsive advocate for trust and estate disputes involving claims for breach of fiduciary duty or the duty of loyalty, environmental claims, investment claims, beneficiary disputes, contested heirship, pretermitted and adopted heirs, disputed creditor claims, judicial construction and modification of wills and trusts, will and trust contests, undue influence, elder abuse, contested powers of attorney, contested accountings, fraudulent transfers, partition actions, spousal right of election issues, wrongful death recovery, family and estate management disputes, conservatorships and guardianships.
In today’s workplace, employers face increasing exposure to employment related regulatory compliance and other legal entanglements with employees. Whether it is administrative compliance, litigation in the courts, or proactive steps in advance to avoid both, every employer needs experienced counsel. Kirk & Simas’s labor and employment law attorneys are committed to counseling and assisting employer clients to implement effective strategies to manage their businesses’ employment challenges and avoid costly litigation. This assistance includes both designing policies and procedures aimed at effective and efficient compliance, and responding to litigation when it arises. If litigation is necessary, the Firm’s attorneys and staff are experienced in defending employers through all stages of proceedings before juries, judges, arbitrators and governmental agencies at the state, federal and appellate level, including matters involving: sexual harassment claims, wrongful termination, discrimination, wage and hours claims, administrative hearings, and retaliation claims.
The Firm’s reputation for general litigation has helped build a comprehensive insurance defense practice. Kirk & Simas litigators have extensive experience handling insurance claims, insurance coverage and subrogation issues for insurers and self-insured companies at every level of state and federal courts throughout California. Firm litigators are knowledgeable and experienced in a variety of complex disputes, including: property, fire and casualty claims, title claims, motor vehicle accidents, construction defect, bad-faith litigation, toxic tort, environmental, and asbestos, professional liability, coverage opinion letters, employment, premises liability, general liability, and subrogation claims.
Kirk & Simas litigators and transaction attorneys represent clients in a variety of environmental disputes, including: administrative rule challenges, permit appeals, governmental enforcement defense, cost recovery claims, and trials and arbitrations over alleged environmental contamination. Firm attorneys represent farmers and ranchers, manufacturers, land owners, oilfield operators and companies, and other businesses in the full range of environmental disputes related to water resources, groundwater and contamination issues, oil contamination, CERCLA negotiations, cost recovery and contribution actions, lateral support claims, and endangered species impacts.
CREDITORS' RIGHTS AND COLLECTIONS
Kirk & Simas litigators represent secured and unsecured creditors in pursuing and enforcing claims in state and bankruptcy court proceedings throughout the Central Coast. Whether it is a routine commercial and consumer collection action or representing creditors in bankruptcy cases, the Firm’s team of attorneys are able to help clients secure and enforce debtor obligations.
Kirk & Simas has successfully represented builders, project owners, sub-contractors and design firms facing substantial exposure in construction disputes on a wide range of commercial, industrial and residential design and construction defect cases. Firm attorneys draw on over three decades of experience representing the business and litigation needs of the construction industry. Firm attorneys are knowledgeable about design concepts, construction methods and construction industry surety and insurance and hold a sophisticated understanding of the roles and responsibilities of various participants in the construction process, and the contractual and legal rights and remedies of the parties. If it serves client goals, claims are taken to trial, but Firm attorneys are trained to exhaust all alternative dispute resolution options first to resolve design defect or construction defect disputes.
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
As longer court queues, rising costs of litigation, and time delays continue to plague litigants, ADR has become the preeminent mode of dispute resolution. Kirk & Simas attorneys are skilled in settling disputes outside of the courtroom. Firm ADR experience includes early neutral evaluation, negotiation, conciliation, mediation, and arbitration.