Doug Butz has represented regional, national, and international law firms in a variety of professional liability matters for nearly four decades.  During that time, he has also represented accounting firms, national insurance brokerages, and publicly held and privately held business entities in professional liability and business litigation matters in state and federal courts.  Doug has a proven track record of courtroom success in the trial of high exposure cases.

Doug has tried in excess of 100 cases in courts of unlimited jurisdiction.  He has successfully defended national and international law firms in complex professional liability actions, international accounting firms in coordinated professional liability class action cases, and public agencies in high value, multi-plaintiff cases involving claims of massive failure of public infrastructure.  His business litigation experience also includes contractual disputes, real estate litigation, unfair competition and false advertising, trade secret infringement, claims against directors and officers, and the defense of lender liability claims.

Doug has been recognized as a Southern California Super Lawyer® continuously since 2007.  More recently, he was recognized as the “San Diego Legal Malpractice Lawyer of the Year” for both 2012 and 2013.  He has been listed in the “Best Lawyers of America” continuously since 1991, one of a limited number of attorneys recognized as such for more than 20 years.  Finally, and most significantly, Doug is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and has been a Fellow of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers since 1992.  Fellowship is by invitation only after a lengthy and detailed investigation into a nominee’s trial abilities and ethical behavior.  Election requires a finding that the candidate possesses exceptional courtroom skills, engages in a highly ethical practice, and is generally limited to the top one percent of attorneys.

Based on his peer recognition and wealth of experience in the litigation of high value claims, Doug brings great credibility, judgment, and perspective to bear on any litigated matter.  His years of experience enable him to quickly sort through extraneous matter and correctly identify the core issues necessary for resolution of a dispute.  He works shoulder to shoulder with clients to develop result-driven strategies to creatively terminate litigation as promptly as possible. In those cases where a pre-trial resolution is not possible, Doug and his team have the demonstrated courtroom skill set to win the case at trial.

As part of his practice, Doug is frequently asked to speak on trial practice and professional liability issues.  He has been a Master in the American Inns of Court for more than 25 years.  When not practicing, Doug enjoys playing golf, skiing, and almost any outdoor activity.  He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Pro Kids of San Diego, a wonderful organization that teaches important life skills to challenged inner-city kids through the game of golf.

Professional Liability Litigation

  • Defended national law firm in a professional liability action arising from a series of business transactions between clients and firm partners, including a failed real estate development.  Plaintiffs’ damage claims exceeded $6.5 million.  A defense verdict was rendered in favor of the law firm and its partners after a seven-week jury trial. 
  • Defended international accounting firm in coordinated class action securities and professional liability litigation in state and federal courts.  Litigation arose from alleged accounting fraud at a publicly traded business software company.  The class plaintiffs sought damages in excess of $100 million.
  • Defended international law firm in consolidated professional liability actions brought by FDIC and bankruptcy trustee of failed savings and loan association.  Claims arose from law firm’s prior defense of the savings and loan in underlying securities class action and derivative litigation.  The consolidated claims brought against law firm client exceeded $140 million.
  • Defended national law firm in a professional liability action brought by limited partners in a real estate limited partnership that was represented by the law firm.  Obtained dismissal of client from action by way of motion for summary judgment.
  • Representation of a national law firm in a professional liability action brought by a health care staffing company.  The company claimed the law firm negligently litigated trade secret cases and billed excessively for its work.  The case was settled after an eight-week jury trial.
  • Representation of a law firm in a professional liability action brought by limited partners in a Texas real estate venture.  Plaintiffs claimed damages of $12 million.  A defense verdict was rendered in favor of the law firm after a two-week jury trial.
  • Representation of an international accounting firm in a professional liability action brought by a sports memorabilia company.  The action arose from advice given by the accounting firm concerning tax avoidance strategies later disqualified by the IRS, resulting in a significant tax liability and penalties to the plaintiff. 
  • Representation of three former Heller Erhman partners in a judicially-initiated contempt proceeding arising from e-discovery violations in the Qualcomm v. Broadcom litigation.  Each client was absolved of responsibility and was dismissed from the proceeding.
  • Defended international law firm in a professional liability claim brought by a California resort developer arising from acquisition of real property in Mexico for a proposed resort development.  Litigation involved proceedings in California and Mexican courts.
  • Represented major Orange County law firm in a federal court fee disgorgement action initiated by the SEC and the court-appointed receiver of a bankrupt entity under investigation by the SEC.
  • Successfully defended law firm in consolidated class action professional liability and securities fraud cases in state and federal court over issuance of tax-exempt municipal bonds.  Class members sought damages in excess of $75 million.

Business and Commercial Litigation

  • Engaged by municipal agency to defend breach of contract and inverse condemnation action brought by a publicly-traded aerospace manufacturing company.  The claimant corporation sought damages of $32 million from the agency.  A defense verdict was rendered in favor of the client-agency on all claims after a three-week jury trial. 
  • Engaged by a public agency to pursue an action for breach of contract against a lessee of the public agency.  A jury verdict of $21.3 million was obtained on behalf of the public agency and against the lessee.  The judgment was affirmed on appeal along with $4 million dollars in post-judgment interest.
  • Representation of Canadian hydroelectric generator and its wholly-owned marketing subsidiary in federal class action litigation arising out of the de-regulation of the California wholesale electricity market.  Obtained dismissal of clients in federal trial courts, as affirmed by federal appellate courts, after successful motion practice. 
  • Successfully defended multi-national corporation in federal court action brought by foreign corporation arising from build-out of an Argentine telecommunication system.  Damages were sought in excess of $50 million for fraud and breach of contracts.
  • Defended bank in lender liability and fraud action brought by real estate developer following loan default and bankruptcy of venture.  Defense verdict rendered in favor of client-bank on all claims and causes of action.
  • Represented domestic corporation in an international arbitration proceeding initiated by a Mexican corporation for breach of contract.  Dispute arose from cross-border transactions relating to labor service agreements for manufacture of sound equipment in Mexico. 
  • Representation of the City of San Diego in an inverse condemnation and public nuisance action arising from the Mount Soledad landslide.  The action was brought on behalf of the owners of 65 homes which were either destroyed or damaged in the landslide.  Plaintiffs claimed the landslide was caused by the degradation and failure of the City-owned and maintained water infrastructure system.  Judgment was entered in favor of the City and against all plaintiffs after a five-week trial.

Professional Recognitions and Awards

  • “San Diego Legal Malpractice Law (Defendants) Lawyer of the Year,” Best Lawyers®, 2013 
  • “San Diego Legal Malpractice Law Lawyer of the Year,” Best Lawyers®, 2012 
  • Southern California Super Lawyer®, continuously since 2007
  • The Best Lawyers in America, continuously since 1991
  • Rated “AV” by Martindale Hubbell, 1982 to present

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