Scott E. Gizer

Partner

Scott E. Gizer is a national trial and appellate lawyer, licensed in three states, who has achieved stellar results for his clients, some of which you will find below.  Mr. Gizer has litigated cases in California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Texas, Connecticut and Florida.  In addition, Mr. Gizer acts as coverage counsel to the major title insurers.  He also serves as General Counsel to the non-profit organization Project Kindle, which primarily serves children and families infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS and serves on the three-member Complaint and Grievance Committee for the World Boxing Organization.

Mr. Gizer’s successes as a trial lawyer began during his second year of practice when he served as lead counsel and obtained a defense verdict for his client in a multi­million dollar property dispute in the city of Santa Barbara that involved issues related to access rights and lateral support. Since that time, Mr. Gizer has tried over 15 cases as lead counsel before juries, judges and arbiters in California, Connecticut, Nevada and Florida and been lead appellate counsel in numerous cases before the California Court of Appeal, Nevada Supreme Court, 9th Circuit, 10th Circuit and 11th Circuit.  Based on his stellar results at trial, integrity with his clients and opponents and ability to find cost-effective resolutions when possible, Mr. Gizer has attracted and retained a wide-range of clients that range from Fortune 500 companies, to local businesses and business persons.  These clients include First American Title Company, Stewart Guaranty Company, North American Title Company, Sun West Mortgage Company, Nations Direct Mortgage, Bank of Hope, Bank of Nevada and Unix Packaging, which he represents in complex litigation matters involving real estate disputes, title insurance disputes, escrow liability, lender liability, contract disputes, partnership disputes, intellectual property disputes, employment matters, and trustee liability.

Mr. Gizer received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego and received his Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School. Mr. Gizer has been selected to the Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars for 2005-2008, and 2010-2013, Southern California Super Lawyers for 2020, was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2018-2020 for Commercial Litigation and was a selected as a 2019 Nominee for Leaders in Law by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Mr. Gizer lives in Calabasas with his wife Jasmine and his two children, Cameron and Chloe.

Title Insurance/Real Estate Law

  • In a well-documented published opinion, Mr. Gizer successfully prevailed in Banner Bank v. First American for client First American, one of the largest title insurance companies in the nation. The 10th Circuit reversed the district court’s ruling on summary judgment with instructions to enter judgment in favor of First American finding that the title company had no duty to defend or indemnify its insured, Banner Bank, in an action that alleged that the Bank’s deed of trust was the subject of a fraudulent transfer.  The case was significant as it clarified the duty to defend in Utah and was the first case in the 10th Circuit to interpret the fraudulent transfer exclusion under a 2006 ALTA lender’s policy.
  • In a published opinion in the U.S. District Court in Colorado, Mr. Gizer  prevailed on summary judgment on behalf of his client First American on an issue of first impression in Colorado—whether a title insurers duty to defend could be limited to only cover claims as dictated by the language of the policy or, if for public policy reasons, the complete defense rule applied to other forms of insurance also applied to title insurance.
  • In an action brought in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mr. Gizer obtained summary judgment in favor of his client who had purchased a large tract of land in the Lake of Las Vegas area for development for $12. 5 million.  The prior owner of the property claimed that Mr. Gizer’s client had engaged in a conspiracy with the prior owner’s manager to acquire the property at below market value.  Mr. Gizer was able to establish through undisputed evidence that his client paid fair market value and was unaware of any of the alleged misconduct of the prior owner’s manager.

Lender Liability

  • Mr. Gizer prevailed on behalf of his mortgage banking client in a putative class action wherein it was alleged that Mr. Gizer’s client had engaged in an illegal kickback scheme with its insurance broker whereby Mr. Gizer’s client allegedly received below market services in exchange for securing a commission for the broker on forced placed flood insurance.  Mr. Gizer obtained summary judgment on behalf of his client by demonstrating that his client placed insurance through competitive bidding that was not tied to any services provided by the insurance broker.  Mr. Gizer then had this judgment affirmed on appeal before the California Court of Appeal.
  • Mr. Gizer prevailed at trial in the US District Court in Florida where the plaintiff had alleged that Mr. Gizer’s mortgage banking client had violated certain RESPA provisions when it force-placed flood insurance on plaintiff’s behalf. Specifically, the plaintiff had alleged that the mortgage bank had failed to follow the requirements of the Florida Insurance Code when procuring the force-placed insurance, which in turn violated Section 2605 of RESPA.  Following a Bench Trial in the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida, Judge Robin Rosenberg found in favor of Mr. Gizer’s holding that the plaintiff could not use section 2605 of RESPA to assert of violation of the Florida Insurance Code when the Florida legislature had not provided for a private right action. The decision was of critical importance to lenders because it limits the ability of plaintiffs to use RESPA to assert violations of State statutes that a plaintiff would not be able to sue directly under.  Mr. Gizer then had the matter affirmed on appeal before the 11th Circuit.

Employment

  • Mr. Gizer represented a local restaurateur in a case with his former business partner regarding a failed restaurant in Westlake Village.  The former partner asserted a novel legal theory that because he only received w-2 income that fell below minimum wage, and no profits, that the restaurant had violated wage and hour laws entitling him to over $100,000 in back pay.  Because the former partner did not make two times the minimum wage, none of the exemptions to the wage and hour laws applied, which left the restaurant with the argument that the former partner was not an “employee”.  After a week-long jury trial, the jury found in favor of Mr. Gizer’s client holding that the former partner did not meet the definition of “employee”.  An adverse result could have caused significant problems for those involved in small businesses.

Contract Disputes

  • Mr. Gizer obtained an arbitration award in favor of his client, an IT firm, following a week-long arbitration wherein it was claimed that Mr. Gizer’s client set up a faulty computer network and failed to maintain sufficient backups for the IT client. As a result, when the server crashed, the IT client claims to have lost all of its data, including architectural drawings (CAD files), resulting in more than $40 million in damages.  Based upon the testimony of the parties and witnesses, the documentary evidence and the arguments of counsel, the Arbitrator ruled in favor of the IT firm finding that the IT client had caused it own loss by failing to follow the advice of the IT firm and by hiring an inexperienced in-house IT employee who altered the computer system that had been installed.
  • Mr. Gizer successfully represented a beverage manufacturer and bottling company in the Central District of California, US District Court, wherein it was alleged by the beverage company that Mr. Gizer’s client had stolen the beverage company’s trade secrets to manufacture a competing beverage and that Mr. Gizer’s had negligently manufactured the beverage company’s product resulting in over $10 million in damages from lost sales in the United States, South America and Asia.  Mr. Gizer was able to exclude all of the beverage company’s claimed damages, except for approximately $2000, by disqualifying the beverage company’s expert.  The matter settled immediately thereafter.

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