Irvine, CA (July 11, 2013)
As a crowning achievement, BP Law Group, LLP and its newly formed affiliate firm Wilson Harvey Browndorf LLP have emerged triumphant for its clients in Spiers v. Bluefire Ethanol. The firm represented two minority shareholders in the complex securities litigation case against the publicly-traded ethanol corporation and its officers and directors. The BP Law litigation team successfully prosecuted their client’s breach of contract and declaratory relief claims. This dramatically increased their clients’ holdings in the company and preserved their “full ratchet” anti-dilution protection rights.
Conquering a Giant
Spiers v. Bluefire Ethanol (Orange County Superior Court Case No. 30-2011-00508691) illustrates the classic case of the “little guy” going up against a giant—on several levels. Bryan Cave LLP, one of the largest law firms in the world, represented Bluefire Ethanol and its principals. Irvine, Calif.-based Bluefire Ethanol—which rebranded itself as Blue Fire Renewables in 2010—is one of the world’s leading biofuels company. Bryan Cave reportedly has more than 1,000 lawyers and consulting professionals in 23 offices across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Its clients include Fortune 100 companies, major and mid-sized publicly and privately held companies, private clients and government agencies.
During Spiers v. Bluefire Ethanol, Bryan Cave’s litigation team was headed by senior partner Larry Ebiner of the firm’s Irvine, Calif. office. The smaller BP Law litigation team was led by Irvine, Calif. Managing Partner Marc Y. Lazo and included New York Managing Partner Rudyard W. Ceres. “Getting to put Marc and Rudy together as a trial team to go up against Bryan Cave and then to have them secure such a strong victory was a great moment and a testament to the quality of our litigation team approach,” said BP Law’s Managing Partner, Matthew Browndorf. “I am proud of them, proud of our firm and happy to win one for our clients.”
Leveraging the Use of Technology
BP Law’s victory in Spiers v. Bluefire Ethanol is ironic in a number of ways. For instance, Browndorf and Ceres previously worked together for Bryan Cave in New York. While employed at Bryan Cave, Browndorf honed his skills on the effective use of litigation technology in the courtroom. That same skill set was instrumental in Lazo’s successful litigation of Spiers v. Bluefire Ethanol.
The attorneys of BP Law excel in the use of technology in the courtroom, thanks to Browndorf. In fact, he received accolades for this specialized knowledge as an emerging associate at Buchanan Ingersoll (now Buchanan Ingersoll & Roney and ranked on the AM Law 100). He also perfected this expertise back in the late 90s and more recently at Bryan Cave in the three-yearlong trial for the infamous People v. Kozlowski and Swartz criminal indictment involving TYCO (TYCO:TYC) Browndorf’s use of technology was also a critical element in other complex litigation cases involving Latex Glove and Big Tobacco.
When Browndorf established BP Law Group and Wilson Harvey Browndorf, he ensured that each of his litigators knew how to employ technology in the courtroom to gain an edge on case presentation. Part of this technique included using the magical talking head deposition on cross examination and presenting documents in a quick and focused manner on one of Browndorf’s favorite products: Trial Director.
Focusing on Core Strengths
As full-service commercial law firms, Wilson Harvey Browndorf and BP Law Group specialize in helping portfolio owners, financial institutions and real estate investors recover unpaid debts. The firm, which is the result of several mergers, was officially formed in 2012. In its first year, BP Law earned nearly $3 million in gross revenues, and Browndorf is expecting to do even better this year. “We have continued to employ the best talent and really focus on our core strengths in commercial litigation and mergers and acquisitions,” he said.
However, in mid-2012, BP Law decided to broaden its focus. Urged by one of Browndorf’s larger clients and good friend Douglas Jacobsen of JH Capital in Calabasas, Calif., the firm engaged in a more legal-focused collections strategy for their distressed portfolios of consumer debt. “It was a home-run,” Jacobsen said. “Browndorf is a great lawyer and brilliant mind, and I was happy to help him get back out there…I was just being a little selfish by asking him to focus on our business and see if he could make it better. He killed it, per usual.”
Today, BP Law and Wilson Harvey Browndorf provide a wide variety of legal services from hubs in California, Texas, Washington, D.C., Little Rock, Arkansas and New York, as well as from offices worldwide—including London. For more information: Contact 888-690-5557 or www.whbllp.com or www.bplawgroup.com.