|Timothy J. Hughes
Telephone: (310) 556-7900
Email: Timothy Hughes
Born: Altadena, California, March 20, 1951
Real Estate, Business, Construction, Complex Litigation
J.D., Hastings College of Law, University of California, 1976
B.A., Loyola University of Los Angeles, 1973(summa cum laude)
Admitted:California (Central District - 1992; Northern District - 2002; Eastern District - 2009);
U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Cir. (1994)
U.S. District Courts:
Ohio (Northern District - 1998, pro hac vice);
District of Idaho - 1999, pro hac vice;
District of Oregon - 2002 and 2009, pro hac vice;
New York (Southern District - 2009, pro hac vice)
State Bar of California
Association of Southern California Defense Counsel
A native Californian, Mr. Hughes graduated from Loyola University of Los Angeles, with the highest academic average for his class and received the Ignatian Award as the senior most distinguished in leadership and service to the University and student body.
As in-house counsel and a senior corporate officer for Caesars World, Inc. and its subsidiaries and Heitman Properties Ltd. and Heitman Advisory Corporation, Mr. Hughes has negotiated and consummated at least 2500 real estate transactions. He also provided general corporate counsel in the areas of securities law compliance, public offerings, entertainment contracts, institutional financing and administrative law issues in the heavily regulated casino gaming industry.
Timothy Hughes’ areas of practice with the firm during the last 23 years include business, commercial, real estate and construction transactional law and litigation. Mr. Hughes’ litigation experience includes complex civil trial and appellate practice in a broad range of cases proceeding to verdict or judgment. He has served as lead counsel in several multi-party, multi-jurisdictional and multi-million dollar cases involving failed development projects; construction defects; private and public works contract disputes; alleged fraud in foreign currency option trading actions; false comparative advertising claims, wrongful death and catastrophic injury actions; landslide and earth movement cases; corporate and partnership dissolution and fraud actions; commercial real estate disputes; aviation accident and international commercial disputes. Since 2002, practice areas have expanded to litigation and transactional matters involving international law (France, Mexico, Japan, Korea and Germany).
Between 2008 and 2013, Mr. Hughes acted as the lead counsel in defense of the so-called developer parties in numerous actions and claims resulting from the failure of the Trump Ocean Resort Baja Project. Plaintiffs/buyers of condominium units at the never-built project asserted state and federal statutory and common law fraud claims against the firm’s clients. In total, 234 plaintiffs prosecuted 15 different lawsuits, claims or arbitration proceedings seeking return of nearly $26 million in deposits plus attorneys’ fees, interest and punitive damages. All matters have been settled or are in the final stages of settlement. A large number of the cases were coordinated and venued in the Los Angeles Superior Court’s complex litigation division.
Between 2008 and 2012, Mr. Hughes supported Columbia Helicopters, Inc. with strategic oversight of the defense of Columbia in the Multidistrict Litigation “In re Helicopter Crash Near Weaverville, California 8/5/08” before the United States District Court for the District of Oregon. The helicopter accident resulted in the deaths of 9 persons and injuries to 4 survivors. Mr. Hughes has also served as lead counsel for Columbia in prosecuting related indemnity and defense contractual actions and coverage disputes which resulted in recovery of $3,000,000 in defense costs incurred by Columbia in the underlying accident cases.
In addition to his work in resolving the Trump Baja litigation in 2013 and the Columbia Helicopters matter in 2012, some of Mr. Hughes’ more notable achievements in the past 15 years include:
- Settling a construction dispute involving a high-value Southern California residence. The firm’s high-profile clients owned the property. Prior to trial, the plaintiff contractor demanded $5,000,000 under various contract and tort theories from the firm’s clients. Although settlement terms remain confidential, the resolution created a net result in the low five figures more favorable to the firm’s clients on their cross-action than the out-of-pocket amounts paid to the contractor. Of note are the facts that Mr. Hughes and the firm substituted in defense of the property owners just five weeks before trial and the settlement was achieved on the second day set for jury selection as the trial was continuing from day to day. (2013, California.)
- Obtaining a pre-trial, client favorable resolution of a partnership, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty action that involved claims and cross-claims of 16 parties plaintiff and defendant, multiple real estate ventures, and properties valued at nearly $400 million dollars, following two years of litigation. The resolution entitled our firm's client to receive more than $8.8 million and absolved our client from all liability for all claims by all other parties. Fees for the primary adverse party, represented by three successive firms, the last being Bryan Cave, exceeded $2,000,000 in contrast to slightly more than $536,000 in fees charged to our client. (2008, California).
- Settling fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims that were asserted against the firm’s clients by a plaintiff claiming to be a partner in several real estate projects successfully developed by our clients. The plaintiff claimed entitlement to profits shares aggregating more than $6 million and punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. The dispute was settled for $2.4 million, of which $1.5 million is payable by the firm’s clients over a seven years with a very low interest burden. (2010, California).
- Obtaining a pre-trial, client favorable resolution of a partnership, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty action that involved claims and cross-claims of 16 parties plaintiff and defendant, multiple real estate ventures, and properties valued at nearly $400 million dollars, following two years of litigation. The resolution entitled our firm’s client to receive more than $8.8 million and absolved our client from all liability for all claims by all other parties. Attorneys’ fees incurred by the primary adverse party exceeded $2,000,000 in contrast to the $536,000 in fees charged to our client. (2008, California).
- Achieving a mediated, pre-litigation settlement of an $80,000,000 wrongful termination claim against our firm’s clients in consideration for a payment of $423,000. (2007, California).
- Achieving a defense favorable settlement in a lawsuit brought by a multi-billion dollar investment firm against the firm’s clients. The action involved a complex partnership/real estate transaction for the development of a large scale hotel-condominium project located out-of-state. The plaintiff investment firm claimed that it was a joint venture partner with our clients in ownership of the project and it was excluded from profits derived from the project’s acquisition, development and re-sale by our clients. At trial, the plaintiff argued entitlement to more than $59,000,000 in compensatory damages plus punitive damages. After 7 weeks in trial and to avoid continuing defense costs, our clients agreed to pay much less than $1,000,000 (net present value) to compromise the lawsuit. Interestingly, the adverse party/plaintiff’s legal fees and costs reportedly exceeded 6 times the value of the settlement paid by our clients and were also more than 4 times the legal fees and costs charged to our clients. Defense of the action was led by Mr. Hughes against one of the nation’s then premier and larger litigation firms. (2006, California).
- Achieving defense favorable mediated settlement in class action wage & hour dispute in which our client paid less than $500,000 in compromise of more than $2.9 million in alleged damages. (2005, California).
- Structuring two private and strategic real estate equity investment alliances with committed investment capital of $32 million and $100 million respectively, creating the governing structures and agreements for the special purpose entities used as the investment/title holding subsidiaries and providing legal services needed for acquisition, management, operation and disposition the funds’ controlled real estate assets. (2004 through 2006).
- Damage control and defense of $29,000,000 claim, resulting in reduced verdict of $16,640,000 against client in international contract dispute between two airlines. (2003, U.S.D.C - Ore).
- Successful defense and obtaining judgment denying entirety of $47,000,000 claim in federal court action involving acquisition of major Korean telecommunications company. (2002, U.S.D.C - N.D. Cal.).
- Obtaining $38,300,000 plaintiff’s verdict for compensatory and punitive damages in a partnership, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty action, following a 2 and ½ month jury trial. Subsequent trial of equitable claims resulted in the imposition of constructive trust over more than $1 billion of real estate assets and the imposition of monthly accounting duties upon the defendants. (2001, 9th largest verdict in California that year).
- Achieving a plaintiff's settlement in the amount of $14,000,000 following the three month jury trial of products liability action that was tried with Mr. Hughes’ partner Paul Fine acting as lead counsel. The case involved wrongful death claims for the families of three decedents and catastrophic injuries to survivors. At the close of the liability phase of the trial led by Mr. Fine, plaintiffs received a unanimous verdict in their favor on all questions presented to the jury. In support of Mr. Fine and throughout trial, Mr. Hughes argued all significant legal and evidentiary issues. During the nearly month long damage phase of trial, Mr. Hughes conducted the direct examination of the plaintiff party witnesses and the direct and cross-examination of economist experts for all sides. (1999, California).
- Achieving settlement of U.S. Justice Department claims and monetary claims of more than 300 persons which involved alleged fraud in foreign currency option trading practice by the firm’s clients. The primary action was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, with ancillary civil proceedings, an asset seizure action and criminal actions in California, Idaho, Texas and Ohio. Mr. Hughes became lead counsel, coordinating the efforts of five law firms and acting as the principal negotiator for the defendants of a global settlement which required the approval of every U.S. Attorney’s office in the United States. (1998, Ohio).
- Obtaining a defense verdict (following a 5 week jury trial that was tried with Paul Fine) in a landslide case where three groups of plaintiffs sought more than $4,000,000 in damages. This case involved complex geotechnical issues complicated by an extensive Coastal Commission regulatory scheme. (1998, California).