Kevin is a partner of Patton Sullivan Brodehl LLP. He is a trial and appellate attorney focusing on high-stakes real estate and business disputes.
"SUPER LAWYER" 2012-2022 | COURTROOM SUCCESS
Kevin focuses on winning trials, arbitrations, and appeals in high-stakes real estate and business disputes in forums across California.
He won his first trial the day after he was licensed as an attorney in 1998, won his first appeal three years later, and has continued that trend for over two decades. His courtroom experience allows him to diagnose, shape, and favorably resolve many cases before trial.
He has received the "Super Lawyer" distinction every year from 2012 through 2022. Super Lawyers is a rating service by Thomson Reuters driven by market research and peer evaluation (not “pay to play”). The honor is awarded to only 5% of California attorneys.
"THE LLC JUNGLE"
Kevin leads a growing niche practice handling LLC disputes. As a thought leader in the field he publishes regularly on his blog, The LLC Jungle.
His cases feature conflicts among LLC members and managers regarding manager authority, fiduciary duties, membership rights, accounting, and “business divorce” (dissolution). His LLC clients are often real estate investment and development groups, but also include other industries such as technology, cannabis, media, and healthcare.
"MONEY AND DIRT"
Kevin also focuses on disputes over “Money and Dirt” and publishes a second blog by that name (“JD Supra Top Author” - 2018).
His clients include real estate investors, developers, REITs, secured lenders, borrowers, and guarantors. Disputes often involve broken contracts (purchase/sale, option, lease, development, joint venture), deeds of trust, liens, title issues, escrow issues, deed restrictions, easements, partition, eminent domain, receivership, and foreclosure involving commercial, industrial, and multi-family properties.
Other "Money and Dirt" highlights:
Adjunct Professor at U.C. Berkeley School of Law (Real Estate Transactions & Litigation, Fall 2016)
Annual Update Author for CEB's seminal treatise "Mortgages, Deeds of Trust, and Foreclosure Litigation"
Lead trial attorney for LLC member and co-manager suing co-manager for breach of fiduciary duties and violation of Uniform Voidable Transactions Act for unauthorized transfer of LLC property.
Lead trial attorney for LLC members suing manager for breach of fiduciary duties arising from misappropriation and withholding of customary distributions while a charging order was in effect. Case remains pending in the trial court, after prior appeal victory.
Co-trial counsel for local developer in purchase and sale agreement dispute involving seller's bad faith rejection of closing deadline extension and poisoning of entitlement efforts. Case settled favorably days before trial, after successful defense of motion for summary judgment.
Appellate counsel for joint venturers suing for profits under development participation agreement. Prevailed in court of appeal, defeating adversary's writ and preserving client's trial court victory.
Represented national, publicly traded health care REIT and its local subsidiary in dispute with master tenant of skilled nursing home facility. Obtained quick, favorable settlement giving control of facility to new master tenant chosen by client.
Represented Bay Area public agency in hotly contested eminent domain proceedings involving valuation of mineral interests and real estate condemned for highway widening. Case settled just weeks before trial for less than half of demand.
Represented founding member of real estate investment LLC in case alleging breach of fiduciary duties against other founding members who abandoned client to participate in new REIT enterprise. Case settled successfully.
Defended a Delaware "series LLC" operating cell tower portfolio in an action by landowner alleging breach of tower lease. Took over case after entry of adverse judgment. Defeated post-judgment "alter ego" motion in the trial court, prosecuted appeal, and achieved settlement that directed previously untapped insurance funds to pay off entire adverse judgment and provide additional six-figure recovery to client.
Lead trial attorney representing apartment building owner/operator in a jury trial defending claims of fraud and statutory violations related to a condo condominium conversion. Settled after jury selection and before opening statements for only 2% of the plaintiff's initial demand.
Lead trial attorney in binding arbitration representing a real estate development company and ground lessee seeking to exercise an option to purchase commercial property. Obtained award enforcing the option (defeating claims of invalidity) at less than half the "fair market" price demanded by seller.
Co-chaired one-week arbitration defending homebuilder from fraud claims by a group of homeowners. After lengthy cross-examination of the plaintiff's chief expert witness, and direct examination of the chief defense expert, the case settled quickly and favorably, with insurance funding most of the settlement.
Real Estate-Secured Lending and Foreclosure Disputes
Lead trial and appellate attorney for property investor in dispute with secured lender involving lien rights and Subdivision Map Act issues. Case is currently on appeal.
Represented secured note buyer and private money lender/servicer asserting post-foreclosure claims against neighboring commercial property owners and public agency for breach of common area deed restrictions (CC&Rs) impacting use and value of security property obtained through foreclosure. Case settled with favorable buyout of client's property.
Lead trial attorney for private money lender in U.S. Bankruptcy Court trial against debtor LLC regarding default interest under debtor's confirmed bankruptcy plan. Prevailed at trial and secured dismissal of appeal. Currently representing client in sequel dispute against debtor in same court.
Represented debtor probate estate defending claims by bank seeing nearly $3 million for defaulted development loan. Prevailed on appeal of adverse judgment. After remand, prevailed on motion for summary adjudication, leading to a settlement totaling only 2% of amount demanded by bank.
Lead trial attorney representing real estate developer and also mezzanine lender in wrongful foreclosure claims against senior lender. Took over case after trial had already started; settled case favorably. Prevailed in later appeal regarding the settlement.
Represented master developer LLCs implementing $100+ million downtown development in claims against major bank and national REIT development partner involving bank's attempted (but halted) "receiver sale."
Lead trial attorney representing manager of private money lender LLC defending claims by LLC member based on fiduciary duties. Defeated two claims pre-trial; obtained dismissal of final claim on third day of trial.
Represented private money lender/servicer defending claims by rogue investor who wired funds into loan transaction escrow without signing participation agreement. Settled case favorably before trial.
Represented global agribusiness lender pursuing $100 million fraud and fiduciary duty claims against another global bank involving the purchase of bad syndicated loan debt. Obtained appellate reversal of the lower court's adverse judgment.
Lead trial attorney in a two-week jury trial in San Francisco prosecuting a Uniform Commercial Code promissory note case. Obtained judgment and "prevailing party" attorney fee awards totaling $2.6 Million.
Represented online media company in case alleging breach of online advertising contract by a "big data" platform company. Case settled successfully at mediation.
Represented regional franchisee who departed from a major real estate brokerage in a case alleging trade secret theft. Case settled early and favorably, with all claims being dismissed in exchange for no monetary compensation.
Represented three public agencies in sales and use tax allocation dispute with Board of Equalization. Prevailed in obtaining writ of mandate from the trial court reversing BOE final decision, although that victory was later reversed on appeal.
Represented an industrial component distribution company and its chief executive accused of trade secret misappropriation. Defeated motions for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, resulting in quick settlement for a small fraction of the original demand.
Defended a print brokerage company accused of misappropriating trade secrets and driving a vendor into bankruptcy by hiring the vendor's key employees. Depositions and motion work set the stage for favorable settlement with an insurance company funding the majority.
Appeals & Writs
Lead appellate attorney for LLC members suing manager for breach of fiduciary duty. Victory in the court of appeal in May 2018 resurrected the case from a previous adverse judgment entered before Mr. Brodehl was retained.
Lead appellate attorney for property owners challenging trial court's interpretation of easement in Santa Cruz hills. Case remains pending.
Lead appellate attorney for property investor in dispute regarding terms of sale to developer. Case remains pending.
Lead appellate attorney for property investor in dispute with secured lender involving lien rights and Subdivision Map Act issues. Case remains pending.
Quarterbacked appeal team effort on behalf of a Northern California County to enforce contractual and regulatory rights over agricultural land governed by the California Land Conservation Act (Williamson Act). Obtained complete reversal of trial court's adverse judgment, which resulted in a published appellate decision - County of Humboldt v. McKee (2008) 165 Cal.App.4th 1476. Also secured dismissal of opponent's related appeal, and prevailed on a writ of mandate shaping trial court proceedings on remand.
Defended a commercial real estate owner from claims that it breached a contract to sell its commercial property by proving that the contract was illegal and unenforceable under the California Subdivision Map Act. The court of appeal affirmed the trial court's judgment in favor of client in a published decision - Sixells, LLC v. Cannery Business Park (2008) 170 Cal.App.4th 648.
Lead-author of amicus curiae brief filed by major Taiwan and U.S. Wi-Fi manufacturers (and joined by Microsoft Corporation) in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in a closely watched patent infringement case.
Annual Update Author for CEB's leading treatise "Mortgages, Deeds of Trust, and Foreclosure Litigation" since 2013
"Beware the "Security Side Deal" in Multi-Debtor Real Estate Secured Obligations: First California Bank v. McDonald," co-author with Charles Hansen (California Real Property Journal - Vol. 33, No. 3, 2015)
[Part 2] "Receiver's Sales - Mirage and Major Hazard for Both Lenders and Receivers," co-author with Charles Hansen (Receivership News, Summer 2012)
[Part 1] 'Receiver's Sales - Mirage and Major Hazard for Both Lenders and Receivers," co-author with Charles Hansen, Receivership News, Spring 2012
The Stop Payment Notice: Construction Lenders Beware (Law 360, April 9, 2014)
"Winning On Appeal When The Odds Are Against You" (San Francisco Daily Journal, December 23, 2011)
"A Lie is a Lie: California Supreme Court Allows Tort Recovery for Fraud During the Performance of a Contract" (Contra Costa Lawyer, June 2005)