Franchise & Distribution Litigator at Mulcahy LLP


Douglas R. Luther

By on June 09, 2015

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Doug Luther handles complex business litigation and advises clients relating to franchising, distribution, intellectual property and statutes and regulations affecting the alcohol beverage and motor vehicle industries.

Mr. Luther’s practice encompasses contract disputes, fraud claims, claims against third parties for interfering with contracts or prospective business, trademark infringement, trade dress, trade secrets, defamation, unfair competition claims and franchise and industry specific statutes (e.g. California Franchise Investment Law, California Franchise Relations Act, California Alcoholic Beverage Control Act).

Mr. Luther currently serves on the Franchise Law Committee for the State Bar of California (2017-2020) and co-authored the California chapter of the upcoming ABA Forum on Franchising's Franchise Desk book. He was also named to the 2018 Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars list and as a 2018 Legal Eagle by the Franchise Times.  

Mr. Luther has significant litigation and trial experience in state and federal courts as well as in arbitration. His recent representative experience includes the following:

Representative Experience

  • Thurston Enterprises v. Safeguard Business Systems, three year litigation that culminated in a month long trial in Boise, Idaho. The Firm obtained a $6 million dollar verdict for the client, a distributor of small business supplies, obtaining the maximum punitive damages allowed under Idaho law. The jury found that Safeguard had violated Thurston’s distributor agreement by acquiring new distributors in Thurston’s territory and allowing them to solicit and make sales to Thurston’s customers. Mr. Luther second chaired the trial examined witnesses and handled all pre and post-trial motions.
  • T3 Enterprises, Inc. v. Safeguard Business Systems, following extensive discovery, motion practice, and a two-week arbitration hearing, a panel of three arbitrators found in favor of T3 Enterprises in an amount in excess of $1.4 million on its contract, tortious interference, and TDTPA claims. The Firm eventually obtained a combined $4.3 million in damages and attorneys’ fees for the client. Mr. Luther second chaired the arbitration, examined witnesses and handled all pre and post-arbitration motions.
  • Quality Production Services, Inc. v. Foundation Building Materials; first chaired four day trial on behalf of drywall manufacturer and obtained a complete defense verdict. The court held that the plaintiff failed to prove that the client had violated the implied warranty of merchantability. Mr. Luther examined all witnesses on direct and cross, handled opening and closing arguments as well as all pre and post-trial motions.

Prior to joining Mulcahy LLP, Mr. Luther practiced complex commercial litigation with the international law firm of Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton, LLP and played a key role in obtaining the following results, among others:

  • Represented church in Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Person Act action against local city resulting in a $1.775 million settlement.
  • Represented commercial landlord in trespass action against tenant resulting in a $1.2 million settlement.
  • Successfully defended various multi-national banks in mortgage foreclosure actions.
  • Assisted hospices through Medicare administrative appeals resulting in recovery of over $2.7 million.

Education

  • UCLA School of Law, J.D., 2011
  • Loyola Marymount University, B.A., 2006

Bar Admission

  • California, 2011

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court (Central District of California)
  • U.S. District Court (Southern District of California)

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, State Bar of California's Franchise Law Committee (2017-present) 
  • Member, American Bar Association – Forum on Franchising (2015-present)
  • Member, Orange County Bar Association (2011-present)
  • Member, Orange County Bar Association, Business Litigation Section (2016-present)
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers - Orange County Chapter (2011-present)
  • American Bar Association (2011-present)
  • University of California, Los Angeles School of Law Alumni Association (2011-present)
  • Loyola Marymount Alumni Association (2006-present)

Professional Highlights

  • Selected by Franchise Times as a Legal Eagle (2018)
  • Selected as Super Lawyer, Rising Star (2018)

Publications:

  • Does California's Alcoholic Beverage Control Act Provide an Independent Right to Terminate a Beer Distributor Agreement? – Mulcahy LLP Blog (January 2018) 
  • License to Sue? Court Rules that a Motor Vehicle Dealer Does Not Need a Dealer's License to Bring a Statutory Claim for Termination without Good Cause – Mulcahy LLP Blog (August 2017) 
  • Use It or Lose It; What Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries Can Do to Protect Their Trademarks from Becoming Abandoned – Mulcahy LLP Blog (June 2017) 
  • California Courts Continue to Void Forum Selection Clauses in Franchise Agreements under a Questionable Mutual Assent Theory – Mulcahy LLP Blog (May 2017) 
  • When is a Termination of a Franchise or Distributor with Cause? – Mulcahy LLP Blog (July 2016)
  • Where's This Beer Really From? Lessons on Deceptive Packaging and Labels from AB InBev Litigation – Mulcahy LLP Blog (April 2016) 
  • What Can a Prospective Beer Distributor Do When a Manufacturer Withholds Consent to the Transfer of the Distributorship – Mulcahy LLP Blog (September 2015)

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