Eric P. Early

Managing Partner

Eric P. Early, the firm’s Managing Partner, is regularly involved in complex litigation matters, primarily focusing on a range of business, entertainment, real estate, title and escrow related litigation.  Before starting Early Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae LLP with several of his former colleagues, Mr. Early had been a business litigation partner for ten years at Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs, Howard & Shapiro LLP, formerly the Christensen Miller firm, in Los Angeles.

Mr. Early’s wealth of litigation and trial experience includes trials and complex arbitrations and mediations in California, Illinois, New York, Nevada, Delaware, Colorado, Arizona and Florida. Mr. Early represents prominent entertainers, producers, athletes and managers in entertainment litigation. Also, he has represented Kirk Kerkorian’s holding company, Tracinda Corporation, in a billion dollar securities fraud case; Fidelity National Financial, First American Title Insurance Company and Old Republic National Title Insurance Company in bad faith actions; various title and escrow companies and individuals in a wide range of real estate, property and coverage litigation, as well as representing Fidelity in an action arising from the largest escrow defalcation in Illinois history.

In 2012, Mr. Early was lead trial lawyer for defendants in the action titled, Central Pacific Bank v. Fidelity National Title Company and Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, Case no. RIC 525 131, in Riverside County, California.  Mr. Early obtained a complete defense verdict following a 2 month jury trial in which plaintiff, who was represented by Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, sought more than $55 million.  California’s leading legal publication, The Daily Journal, selected the verdict as one of the “Top Defense Verdicts of the Year.”  In another action, following a year of hard fought litigation, Mr. Early was lead trial lawyer in a binding arbitration before a panel of three arbitrators in Los Angeles centering on the most exclusive residential property in Maui, Hawaii. Plaintiff was represented by the national law firm of Holland & Knight and sought $26 million in compensatory and punitive damages.  After hearing the testimony of more than 20 witnesses from around the country, the arbitration panel granted Mr. Early’s client, First American Title Insurance Company, a complete defense verdict for claims of breach of contract and insurance bad faith.  Lochland Holdings, LLC v. First American Title Ins. Co., AAA Case No. 72 159 Y 00274 11. In another action, Mr. Early obtained a complete defense verdict at arbitration for his clients who own and operate nursing homes throughout California. The Firm’s clients were being sued for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, fraud, and corporations code violations. Brull v. Meridian Health Services Holding, et al., JAMS Case No. 1100079509.

Mr. Early also regularly represents individual property owners who have been the victims of real estate fraud, recently acting as lead counsel on a case in which the Firm’s client was being sued by a Saudi Arabian Princess for the turnover of the client’s Beverly Hills home. The Firm obtained summary judgment victory for its client who was able to retain ownership of the family home.

During the normal course of Mr. Early’s never-a-dull-moment practice, he oversees numerous ongoing cases. One of several that presently stand out is a case in which he and the Firm are defending approximately 200 retirees in a small town in northern Nevada, in an action brought by a member of the Washoe Tribe, who is threatening to take the Firm’s clients’ family homes (which are located on Indian land), in the action entitled Kizer v. PTP, et al., Case No. 3:15-cv-00120-RCJ-WGC (USDC Dist. Nev.).

Before attending law school, Mr. Early spent several years in the film industry including stints directing and producing short films for The Great Space Coaster children’s television show, post-producing animated shows such as Transformers, G.I. Joe and Jem and the Holograms, as well as writing several episodes of those series, editing award winning documentaries, serving as Director of Film Operations for Atlantic Entertainment Group, and producing trailers for B-movie king, Roger Corman.

He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from New York University’s School of the Arts and received his Juris Doctorate from Southwestern Law School. While in film school, Mr. Early was a Mobil Student Film finalist award winner. Mr. Early is a member of the Executive Board of Southwestern Law School’s Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute and is the Immediate Past-President of Southwestern Law School’s Entertainment and IP Alumni Association.

Mr. Early was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2017 for Real Estate Litigation and 2018 for Commercial Litigation; Real Estate Litigation; Entertainment Law – Motion Pictures and Television; and Entertainment Law – Music, and has been included on the list of Southern California Super Lawyers every year since 2005. Mr. Early has also been included in Super Lawyers Business Edition every year since it began publishing in 2013.

Mr. Early is the proud father of 2 children. His son Alex owns and operates a successful private jet charter company, The Early Airway. His daughter Lauren is touring the world as lead guitarist in various bands.

Representative Matters

  • Lead trial lawyer representing defendant in the $26 million action titled, Lochland Holdings, LLC v. First American Title Ins. Co., AAA Case No. 72 159 Y 00274 11.  Obtained defense verdict.
  • Lead trial lawyer representing defendants in the $55 million action titled, Central Pacific Bank v. Fidelity National Title Company and Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, Case no. RIC 525 131, Riverside County, California.  Obtained complete defense verdict following 2 month jury trial.
  • Represented film financier Bodo Scriba in the action titled, Twentieth Century Fox v. Scriba, USDC, C.D. Cal, CV-01109-GW.  Fox sued Scriba for breach of an international motion picture distribution agreement (for the distribution of films in the Russian territories) and fraud, and dismissed the case in its entirety on the eve of trial with no settlement entered.
  • Representing Greece's Alpha Satellite Television, S.A. against Warner Brothers International Television in an action involving claims for breach of a $60 million licensing agreement.
  • Representing Fidelity National Financial and First American and their subsidiaries in insurance bad faith actions
  • Defending prescriptive easement, trespass, lien priority and coverage disputes for Fidelity, Chicago Title, Lawyers Title, Ticor Title and their insureds.
  • Representing a prominent cosmetics packaging company in an action against a European cosmetics manufacturer.
  • Representing Industry Entertainment in breach of contract actions against noted talent managers.
  • Representing a prominent sports agent in a dispute over agent and management commissions against a major basketball player.
  • Representing Tracinda Corporation in a securities class action.
  • Representing a developer against the City of Los Angeles in a zoning and takings dispute.
  • Representing MGM Studios in an action against Sylvester Stallone regarding the Rocky franchise.
  • Representing Paramount Pictures in a defamation action brought by Michael Jackson.
  • Representing attorney Robert Shapiro in an action brought by record producer, Phil Spector.

Sampling of Reported Cases

  • In re: DaimlerChrysler AG Securities Litigation, 2003 WL 22951696 (D. Del.).
  • Fidelity National Title Insurance Company of New York v. Intercounty National Title Insurance Company, 2004 WL 906120 (N.D. Ill.).
  • Johnson v. Aljian, 394 F. Supp. 2d 1188 (C.D. Cal. 2004).
  • Tracinda Corporation v. DaimlerChrysler AG, 2005 WL 927187 (D. Del.).
  • PKG Group, LLC v. Gamma Croma, S.p.A., 446 F. Supp. 2d 249 (S.D.N.Y. 2006).
  • Tracinda Corporation v. DaimlerChrysler AG, 502 F.3d 212 (3d Cir. 2007).
  • Independent Trust Corporation v. Fidelity National Title Insurance Company of New York, 577 F. Supp. 2d 1023 (N.D. Ill. 2008).

Publication

  • It's A Wonderful Life, Motion Picture Studios Can Regain Control of Their Wayward Classics, 1 UCLA Ent. L.Rev. 139 (1994).

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