Mark E. Terman is a results-driven litigator whose work extends from restrictive covenants, trade secret, fraud and other business torts and employee misconduct; to wrongful termination, discrimination and sexual harassment, wage & hour, and unfair labor practices matters; and to corporate/shareholder disputes – from case inception to injunction, summary judgment and trial proceedings. His counseling work includes claim prevention, crisis management/mitigation, investigation, M&A, contract/equity/executive compensation, competitive business practices/restrictive covenants, trade secret protection and counter-measures, and outside general counsel services. Mark is national Vice Chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment Group and Co-Chair of the Group’s Crisis Management Team.
Mark is the author of numerous articles and has been quoted on employment law and litigation issues including, television news, Inside Counsel, Law360, Society of Human Resource Professionals’ SHRM Online, HREonline, Laborsphere, Los Angeles Daily Journal, California CPA Magazine, and the Washington Post. He is also a frequent speaker to companies, trade associations and to professional organizations, such as the Association of Corporate Counsel (So. Cal.), HR Star Conference, and California CPA Education Foundation.
Mark has more than three decades of experience representing clients in labor, employment and business matters. These are highlights of some of his representative matters:
- Led Drinker Biddle team that won dismissal of three putative class action matters brought in multiple states against an administrator of self-directed individual retirement accounts. Two federal Courts of Appeals have affirmed the judgments of dismissal, and the third appeal is pending.
- Quarterbacked and led Drinker Biddle, client and third-party investigative and forensic teams, and worked in cooperation with the FBI and United States Attorney’s Office, in a major fraud embezzlement matter that culminated in the conviction and jail of, and near complete restitution made to the client by, the former executive. Professional fees were recovered from client’s insurer.
- Quarterbacked and led Drinker Biddle, client and investigative teams revealing major fraud embezzlement and financial misconduct, and sexual misconduct, by an executive that culminated in the former executive giving forensic assistance to the client to help correct the company’s books and tax reporting. Third-party professionals were engaged to secure recovery by the client through insurance and litigation against others.
- Resolved a federal court civil rights action brought against our corporate client, a defense contractor deployed at U.S. Military base, in which severe intentional race discrimination was alleged. The action settled at mediation on a confidential basis for a modest fraction of the demand. Settlement was reached at a second mediation with those who were not named plaintiffs.
- Handled multiple discrimination and wrongful termination cases brought in state court against a defense contractor operating on U.S. Military bases, successfully removed them to federal court and disposed of them through motion practice and/or early discovery and modest settlements. In one such recent discrimination matter, with a dispositive motion pending, the action was settled for a negligible amount.
- Defended a company and executive accused of unfair competition and theft of trade secrets after the executive left the plaintiff company and became employed by the client company. The action resolved on the eve of mediation when confidential briefs were exchanged and the plaintiff competitor could see that taking a very modest settlement early in the case was superior to the expense of litigating it fully and likely loosing.
- As special counsel (not litigation counsel), investigated allegations of sexual harassment made by a mid-level executive against the client’s CFO, including interviews of the accuser, the accused, and other witnesses, examining written communications and other documents, and issuing a report of factual findings.
- At the request of a company in which a majority interest was being sold to a third-party, handled executive employment and equity contracts for the executive management team to be effective after the change of control.
- Led the Drinker Biddle team who won a labor arbitration that denied an unjust discharge grievance brought by a maintenance worker who was employed by our client, a U.S. Army contractor.
- Resolution of allegation that a client’s executive raped another employee while away for business travel. Immediate and intensive investigation revealed that the interaction was consensual.
- Led investigation team in workplace drugs investigation that led to arrests, employment terminations, and other disciplinary actions.
- Won a defense award at labor arbitration over a union’s wage claims brought on behalf of entire workforce against U.S. Navy contractor. Teamsters Local 533 v. Chugach Support Services, Inc., 2005 WL 2693582, 121 Lab. Arb. (BNA) 818.
- Led team that obtained preliminary injunctions against a financial services sector client’s former employees and their new employer due to misappropriation of trade secrets and unfair competition. The case resolved after the injunctions were entered.
- Won defense award at labor arbitration against claims of unjust discharge brought on behalf of a worker discharged for threats of workplace violence. CMI and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 611, 2006 WL 4674958, 123 Lab. Arb. (BNA) 1390.
- Defended claims of artists who alleged that client violated the California Talent Agency Act and who sought disgorgement of all fees paid to client. Confidential settlement reached at mediation for a fraction of the amounts sought.
- Defended owner of joint venturer sued in California Superior Court despite arbitration clause in joint venture agreement between the entities that required arbitration in China. Obtained reversal of Trial Court order in Court of Appeal resulting in dismissal of the CA case. Azirian v. Ma, 2006 WL 847213 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.)
- Prosecuted unfair business practices and RICO claims against client’s former sales team who secretly set up competing manufacturing and sales network while still employed by the client.
- Defended cross-claims for wrongful termination, trade libel and antitrust seeking $18 million. This complex litigation, pending in both state and federal court, was settled on a confidential basis before trial after cross-claims were dismissed by the court.
- Defended employer and managers sued for sexual harassment and wrongful termination. Moved the case to early mediation, presented witness at the mediation, and persuaded Plaintiff to agree to a binding arbitration. Without jury potential, the case settled for a nominal amount.
- Defended a pension administrator against claims for $2.5 million of investment losses resulting from alleged breach of fiduciary duty and negligence. The investors’ claims were defeated on a summary judgment motion, and the client was awarded its attorney’s fees and costs. The case was affirmed. Brown v. California Pension Administrators and Consultants (1996) 45 Cal.App.4th 333.
- Prosecuted general partners of a real estate partnership and their management company on claims for breach of fiduciary duty and fraud on behalf of a limited partner. Unanimous jury verdict in favor of Plaintiff for nearly six times Plaintiff’s investment.
- Prosecuted and obtained restraining order on unfair competition and theft of trade secret claims against technician firm that serviced client’s electronics business.
- Defended senior management team who resigned and opened a new local division of a national contracting firm against unfair competition, misappropriation of trade secret and fiduciary breach. The case was dismissed after Plaintiff’s applications for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction were denied.
- Defended owners and their companies against fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims of claimant seeking co-ownership and damages of $10 million. Obtained summary judgment on all claims prior to trial.
- District of Columbia
- University of California, Hastings College of the Law, August 1986, Trial College for Practicing Attorneys
- Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, J.D., 1983, Loyola Law Review, Extern for Hon. Justice Clarke E. Stephens of California Court of Appeal, Second District
- University of California, Los Angeles, B.S., 1979
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- U.S. District Court, Central District of California
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
- Ronald McDonald House, Los Angeles, Vice President Board of Trustees (2012–Present)
- California CPA Education Foundation, Employment Practices Conference, Chair (2008–2011)
- UCLA Alumni Association, General Counsel (1996–2000; 2004–2008)
- UCLA Alumni Association, Board of Directors (1993–2000; 2004–2008)
- Children’s Nature Institute, Board of Directors (2000–2004)
- California CPA Education Foundation, Employment Practices Conference, Planning Committee Member and Speaker (12 years)
- Society of Human Resource Managers and Professionals in Human Resources Association
- Court-Appointed Arbitrator in 22 matters for the California Superior Court in Los Angeles