Damien Lillis helps clients resolve difficult business and employment cases. He takes a pragmatic approach to litigating cases for clients involved in high technology, financial services, manufacturing, real estate, and other sectors. Super Lawyers Magazine has named Mr. Lillis a Northern California “Super Lawyer” in Business Litigation each year from 2011 to 2020.
Before founding Lillis Pitha LLP, Mr. Lillis practiced in the Silicon Valley office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, and also helped found a successful trial firm in San Francisco.
Mr. Lillis specializes in cases dealing with conflicts among business owners, unfair competition, breach of contract, and business torts arising from corporate mergers and asset purchases, change in control agreements, and financings and investments. His cases reflect a focus on obtaining superior results in a wide variety of disputes:
- Lead trial counsel for the prevailing respondent in a multi-day binding arbitration, defeating request for seven-figures in damages and ultimately recovering hundreds of thousands of dollars in prevailing-party attorneys’ fees for our client.
- Co-lead trial counsel for the plaintiffs in two trials finding the defendants liable for breach of fiduciary duty, one for breach of an oral partnership agreement under California law, and the other for breach of the fiduciary duties owed by a majority LLC owner to a minority owner under Delaware law. The court awarded more than $6,000,000 in damages, interest, and attorneys’ fees to the firm’s prevailing clients.
- Prevailed in multi-day binding arbitration in a dispute between the buyer and seller of a business, obtaining and recovering a substantial six-figure award of damages and prevailing-party attorneys’ fees.
- Lead counsel in securing $1,100,000 settlement in an auditing malpractice case.
- Obtained settlements of $750,000 and $500,000 in litigation involving a hedge fund, including parallel civil litigation and arbitration proceedings between the fund’s founders.
- Obtained judgment of rescission and substantial damages for client defrauded by business partner.
- Obtained a stay of arbitration proceedings instituted against an investor, obtained a declaratory judgment that an amendment to an LLC operating agreement was not binding on the investor, and secured award of more than $200,000 in attorneys’ fees for prevailing at the trial court and appellate levels. (Abbey v. Fortune Drive Associates, LLC, 2010 WL 1553616 (Cal. App. 1 Dist., Div. 1, 2010).)
- Prevailed before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a cutting-edge trademark infringement case dealing with Google’s key-word advertising program, and secured the affirmance of the district court’s denial of a motion for preliminary injunction. (Picture It Sold v. iSold It LLC, 2006 WL 2467552 (9th Cir. Aug. 28, 2006).)
- Prevailed before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in an unusual case dealing with 28 U.S.C. § 1782, its authorization to use the U.S. district courts to obtain discovery for use in foreign proceedings, and the First Amendment right to anonymous speech on the internet. (London v. Does 1-4, 2008 WL 2178602 (9th Cir. May 22, 2008).)
- Obtained complete dismissal of malicious prosecution suit by prevailing on a special motion to strike under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, argued and prevailed on appeal resulting in a published decision, and collected $100,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs on behalf of his prevailing client. (Paulus v. Bob Lynch Ford, 139 Cal. App. 4th 659 (2006).)
- Successfully defended officers and directors of a Silicon Valley fabless semiconductor company against claims of breach of fiduciary duty alleged by the company’s founder after a down-round of financing diluted the founder’s equity position.
- On behalf of venture capital firm, obtained the resignation of a corporate director by filing suit under California Corporations Code seeking the court-ordered removal of the director based on his misconduct.
- Successfully defended leading franchisor of eBay drop-off stores against putative class claims alleged by franchisees.
Mr. Lillis regularly represents clients in employment cases dealing with retaliation, discrimination and harassment, wrongful termination, the departure of key employees, breach of confidentiality obligations, the enforceability of covenants not to compete, the failure to pay wages, and defamation. A few recent results:
- Obtained substantial recoveries for former Sun Microsystems executives under change in control agreements following Oracle’s acquisition of Sun.
- Successful defense of a major manufacturer of semiconductors in separate cases alleging retaliation, discrimination, and failure to pay wages and bonuses.
- Successful defense of a major financial firm in a disability discrimination and retaliation case.
- Obtained summary judgments and outright dismissals of suits for national origin discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation.