name

Phillip Eskenazi

Partner
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Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

California-Southern, USA
    Local Time: Saturday 12:23

Practice Expertise

  • Advertising and Marketing Litigation
  • Accounting Profession Defense
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Advertising Litigation

Areas of Practice

  • Accounting Profession Defense
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Advertising and Marketing Litigation
  • Advertising Litigation
  • Business Litigation
  • Class Action, Multidistrict Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Corporate and Securities Litigation
  • False Claims Act
  • Litigation
  • Retail
  • Securities Litigation and SEC Enforcement
  • Wage and Hour Class Actions
  • View More

Profile

Phil’s practice focuses on complex business and securities litigation and class action defense.

Phil represents clients across many industries in a wide range of complex commercial disputes, with particular expertise representing retailers and consumer product manufacturers. He has served as lead counsel in more than 200 class actions involving employee or consumer claims. Phil also has deep experience in securities and corporate litigation, including shareholder disputes and fiduciary duty claims. As part of this practice, Phil has represented several accounting firms on a wide range of accountant liability issues. Phil also has an active trial practice and has been lead trial counsel in several notable trial victories. Phil is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th and 9th Circuits; and all state and federal courts in California.

Representative Trial Experience

  • lead trial counsel for a national accounting firm in defense of claims brought by a group of defrauded investors who were seeking to hold the accountants liable for their investment losses of approximately $20 million plus punitive damages based on tax work performed for the alleged fraudulent entity and perpetrator of the fraud. The jury found in favor of the accounting firm and the case was recognized by the Daily Journal, California’s leading legal publication, in its annual listing of the top ten defense verdicts (two-week jury trial in California state court).
  • lead trial counsel for the defendant, a Silicon Valley software executive, in an SEC enforcement action for securities and accounting fraud that was followed closely by the business and legal press and was recognized by the Daily Journal in its annual listing of the top ten defense verdicts (two-week jury trial in federal court).
  • lead trial counsel for a national CPA firm in defense of claims for fraud and negligent misrepresentation by a group of broker-dealers who sought more than $100 million and were allegedly victimized by the firm’s role in a $2 billion Ponzi scheme. After defeating several of the broker-dealers’ claims on summary judgment, the remainder proceeded to trial, which commenced with a multi-day evidentiary hearing on a motion to strike the broker-dealers’ damages expert and corresponding damages claims. The Court granted the motion, and having no damages expert for trial, the broker-dealers then settled on confidential terms.
  • trial counsel for a major aerospace company against claims of fraud in the development of a weapons system, in the first case that the federal government tried before a jury under the False Claims Act after the Act was amended to make it easier for the government to prevail. The underlying allegations were initially featured on 60 Minutes. After a 3 month trial, the jury found in favor of the defendant on all claims and The National Law Journal listed the case in its annual listing of the top defense verdicts in the country.

Representative Consumer Class Actions

  • lead trial counsel for a home improvement retailer in defense of nationwide class action alleging the sale of laminate flooring that emitted unlawful levels of formaldehyde gas (individual settlement after dismissing class claims).
  • lead trial counsel for a national retailer defending a nationwide class action alleging that standard size bags of mulch were “under-filled” and contained less product than represented on the bag (individual settlement after defeating class certification).
  • lead trial counsel for a global appliance manufacturer defending a class action alleging that over 300,000 consumers purchased defective washing machines that had a propensity to overflow (defeated class certification).
  • lead trial counsel for a global telecommunications provider defending a class action alleging unlawful overcharges on long-distance calls (prevailed at trial on a motion for nonsuit).
  • lead trial counsel for a financial services company defending a class action alleging that it received unlawful fees in conjunction with mortgage transactions (resulted in court approved settlement).
  • lead trial counsel for a national supermarket chain in defense of California class action alleging that the client and other leading retail pharmacies unlawfully assessed sales tax reimbursement on non-taxable items. After prevailing on the meaning of the applicable tax regulations following years of litigation, the defendants successfully argued that consumers could not state claims under California’s consumer protection laws based on the alleged overcharging of sales tax. The judgment was affirmed by the California Court of Appeal and ultimately the California Supreme Court.
  • represented a multi-national bank defending a series of class actions wherein the plaintiffs sought to recover over $200 million on behalf of depositors who were allegedly victimized by the bank’s role in a Ponzi Scheme (prevailed on motions to dismiss; affirmed by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals).
  • represented a leading homebuilder defending a nationwide class action alleging that the homebuilder engages in fraudulent business and advertising practices related to its marketing and sale of new homes (prevailed on a motion to dismiss; affirmed by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals).
  • represented multiple food and beverage companies in defense of alleged false and misleading advertising claims, including product labels and packaging.

Representative Wage and Hour Class Actions

  • lead trial counsel for a national accounting firm defending a class action alleging that its non-licensed associates were misclassified as exempt employees (defeated class certification; order affirmed by California Court of Appeal in a published opinion).
  • lead trial counsel for a national retailer defending a series of state-wide class actions alleging that tens of thousands of independent contractors were misclassified (defeated class certification in four states and secured one state-wide court approved settlement).
  • lead trial counsel for a national retailer defending a class action alleging that over 55,000 employees work “off-the-clock” (resulted in court approved settlement).
  • lead trial counsel for an insurance company defending a class action challenging the legality of its vacation policy (prevailed on motion for summary judgment).
  • lead trial counsel for a Fortune 50 retail company in defense of multiple overlapping PAGA actions alleging misclassification of assistant managers. (after successfully moving to coordinate and then stay the follow-on cases, secured a favorable settlement of the lead action that disposed of all subsequent actions and that obtained court approval over various objections).
  • lead trial counsel for a major retail brand in defense of class and PAGA claims on behalf of 37,000 employees seeking “separate rest break pay” under California law (prevailed on motion for summary adjudication).

Representative Commercial Litigation Matters

  • lead trial counsel for a global telecommunications provider in a multimillion-dollar contractual dispute with a telemarketing company (one-week bench trial in federal court; judgment affirmed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals).
  • lead trial counsel for an international retailer defending an 8-figure claim for breach of contract and various business torts arising out of a private label credit card program for the retailer’s Mexican subsidiary. On the eve of trial, the court granted a motion in limine to preclude plaintiff’s witnesses from testifying as to plaintiffs’ damages on the ground that they lacked the requisite competence to support the damages model. Having no other admissible evidence of damage in support of its claims, the court entered judgment if favor of the defendant, which was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
  • lead trial counsel in defense of numerous accountant liability claims arising out of audit, attest, and tax engagements.
  • trial counsel for a memory module manufacturer in defense of claims for misappropriation of trade secrets and fraud arising out of a failed acquisition involving two competitors (five-week jury trial in California state court).
  • trial counsel for a nationwide lender in defense of claims for fraudulent lending practices (settled during a jury trial in California state court).
  • lead trial counsel for a securities brokerage firm in a multimillion-dollar dispute regarding alleged improper investment practices (two-week NASD arbitration).
  • lead trial counsel for a gaming company in prosecution of misappropriation of trade secrets claim against a competitor (obtained judgment that was affirmed by the California Court of Appeal).
  • lead trial counsel for a visual display technology company in a case against an OEM supplier concerning a $500 million OEM contract.

Bar Admissions

  • California

Education
BS, University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business (Accounting emphasis), 1988

Areas of Practice

  • Accounting Profession Defense
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Advertising and Marketing Litigation
  • Advertising Litigation
  • Business Litigation
  • Class Action, Multidistrict Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Corporate and Securities Litigation
  • False Claims Act
  • Litigation
  • Retail
  • Securities Litigation and SEC Enforcement
  • Wage and Hour Class Actions

Professional Career

Significant Accomplishments
  • lead trial counsel for a national accounting firm in defense of claims brought by a group of defrauded investors who were seeking to hold the accountants liable for their investment losses of approximately $20 million plus punitive damages. The jury found in favor of the accounting firm and the case was recognized by the Daily Journal, California's leading legal publication, in its annual listing of the top ten defense verdicts (two-week jury trial in California state court).
  • lead trial counsel for the defendant, a Silicon Valley software executive, in an SEC enforcement action for securities and accounting fraud that was followed closely by the business and legal press and was recognized by the Daily Journal in its annual listing of the top ten defense verdicts (two-week jury trial in federal court).
  • lead trial counsel for a national retailer defending a class action alleging that over 55,000 employees work "off-the-clock" (resulted in court approved settlement).
  • lead trial counsel for a national accounting firm defending a class action alleging that its non-licensed associates are misclassified as exempt employees (defeated class certification; order affirmed by California Court of Appeal in a published opinion).
  • lead trial counsel for an insurance company defending a class action challenging the legality of its vacation policy (prevailed on motion for summary judgment).
  • lead trial counsel for a global telecommunications provider defending a class action alleging unlawful overcharges on long-distance calls (prevailed at trial on a motion for nonsuit).
  • lead trial counsel for a financial services company defending a class action alleging that it received unlawful fees in conjunction with mortgage transactions (resulted in court approved settlement).
  • represented a multi-national bank defending a series of class actions wherein the plaintiffs sought to recover over $200 million on behalf of depositors who were allegedly victimized by the bank's role in a Ponzi Scheme (prevailed on motions to dismiss; affirmed by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals).
  • represented a leading homebuilder defending a nationwide class action alleging that the homebuilder engages in fraudulent business and advertising practices related to its marketing and sale of new homes (prevailed on a motion to dismiss).
  • trial counsel for a major aerospace company against claims of fraud in the development of a weapons system, in the first case that the federal government tried before a jury under the False Claims Act after the Act was amended to make it easier for the government to prevail. The National Law Journal listed the case in its annual listing of the top defense verdicts in the country.
  • lead trial counsel for a global telecommunications provider in a multimillion-dollar contractual dispute with a telemarketing company (one-week bench trial in federal court; judgment affirmed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals).
  • trial counsel for a memory module manufacturer in defense of claims for misappropriation of trade secrets and fraud arising out of a failed acquisition involving two competitors (five-week jury trial in California state court).
  • trial counsel for a nationwide lender in defense of claims for fraudulent lending practices (settled during a jury trial in California state court).
  • lead trial counsel for a securities brokerage firm in a multimillion-dollar dispute regarding alleged improper investment practices (two-week NASD arbitration).
  • lead trial counsel for a gaming company in prosecution of misappropriation of trade secrets claim against a competitor (obtained judgment that was affirmed by the California Court of Appeal).
  • lead trial counsel for a visual display technology company in a case against an OEM supplier concerning a $500 million OEM contract.


Professional Associations
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • American Bar Association

Professional Activities and Experience
  • Lead trial counsel in one of the Top 10 Defense Verdicts in California in 2008 (Daily Journal, January 2009)
  • Top 20 Attorneys under 40 in California (Daily Journal, January 2006)
  • Lead trial counsel in one of the Top 10 Defense Verdicts in California in 2004 (Daily Journal, January 2005)
  • Trial counsel in one of the Top 10 Defense Verdicts in the U.S.A. in 1996 (National Law Journal, February 1997)
  • Southern California Super Lawyer, Los Angeles magazine, 2006-2016

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