Boutin Jones INC., Attorneys at Law

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People

Michael E. Chase
I enjoy live shows, concerts and sports.  I am a big opera fan, and I served for a decade on the board of the Sacramento Opera Company, including a stint as its president.

Michael E. Chase

Shareholder

Practices

  • Healthcare
  • Litigation

Education

  • State University of New York, Buffalo School of Law, J.D.
  • Cornell University, B.A.

Bar Admissions

  • California
  • New York

Delivering for Clients

“I help business clients with general commercial and complex business litigation, including intellectual property and real estate litigation. I handle mediations, arbitrations and trials to achieve successful resolutions for clients.”

Experience

Appellate Litigation

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel in the trial court and on appeal for a commercial landlord’s successor-in-interest in a dispute with a former tenant. The firm succeeded in renewing and defending against the former tenant’s attack against a 20-year-old judgment exceeding $350,000, and securing affirmance in the Court of Appeal, successfully advancing both procedural and substantive arguments to sustain the validity of the judgment. Shareholders Dan Stouder and Michael Chase were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel in the trial court and on appeal for borrowers on an alleged $1.2 million debt secured by real property. The firm succeeded in achieving summary judgment in the action based on the one-form-of-action rule, and affirmance of the judgment in the Court of Appeal, successfully advancing both procedural and substantive arguments to eliminate the lawsuit and any personal liability for the alleged debt. Shareholders Bob Swanson and Michael Chase were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel for a financial institution in an appeal filed by a guarantor of a defaulted loan. The firm succeeded in obtaining dismissal of the appeal on grounds of nonappealability, persuading the court that the guarantor had not shown that an order vacating an underlying judgment was appealable. Shareholders Tom Mouzes and Michael Chase were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as appellate counsel for a temporary staffing company and one of its employees in a trade secret dispute. The clients were represented by other counsel in the trial court action, which resulted in a jury verdict in their favor and an award of attorney’s fees exceeding $700,000. The firm’s appeal team succeeded in achieving affirmance of the judgment entered on the jury’s verdict, successfully advancing both procedural and substantive arguments to preserve the jury verdict.  Shareholder Michael Chase was the primary Boutin Jones attorney on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as appellate counsel for the seller of a media duplication device, and two of its employees, in a patent infringement dispute. The clients were represented by other counsel in the trial court action, which resulted in a judgment against them exceeding $1.3 million. The firm’s appeal team succeeded in vacating the judgment and obtaining for the clients a new trial on damages and on the individuals’ personal liability. Shareholder Michael Chase and attorney Chris Gibson were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as appellate counsel for a home study course materials provider in a franchise dispute. The firm’s appeal team succeeded in vacating a judgment against the provider exceeding $1.5 million. Shareholders Michael Chase and Bob Swanson were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as appellate counsel for a manufacturing company arising out of a trade secret dispute with a competitor. The client was represented by other counsel in the trial court action, which resulted in entry of an injunction against the client. The firm’s appeal team succeeded in vacating the injunction. Shareholders Michael Chase and Bob Swanson were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Civil, Commercial and Business Litigation

Boutin Jones Inc. represented two former creditors of a dissolved corporation in a lawsuit filed by another, unpaid creditor of the dissolved corporate debtor. The plaintiff claimed numerous fraudulent transfers were made to the firm’s clients, and sought more than $1.8 million received by them before the corporate debtor’s dissolution. Following a successful motion to transfer venue out of the plaintiff’s home county, the firm moved for and obtained summary judgment on all of the plaintiff’s claims against both clients. Michael E. Chase was the primary Boutin Jones shareholder involved in the case.

Boutin Jones Inc. represented a tribally-owned corporation, which was federally-chartered under section 17 of the Indian Reorganization Act, in a dispute with the Internal Revenue Service (the Service). The litigation concerned whether the section 17 corporation was liable for over $11 million in employment taxes incurred by one of the corporation’s divisions, which had operated as a separate business independent of the corporation’s other businesses. The corporation’s federal charter expressly permitted the corporation to establish liability-remote divisions. The Service took the position that section 17 did not empower the Department of Interior to issue a corporate charter which contained such a provision. Following a trial in the United States Tax Court, the corporation received a favorable decision upholding its right under the charter to establish liability-remote divisions, and holding that the Service could only collect the employment taxes at issue from the assets of the division. The Tax Court also awarded the corporation over $480,000 in attorney’s fees. Robert R. Rubin and Michael E. Chase were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys involved in the case.

Boutin Jones Inc. represented a former officer and minority shareholder of an insurance business, who after leaving his company was accused by the company of misappropriating its trade secrets and soliciting its employees for a competing venture. The firm successfully resolved the claims prior to any litigation, with no payment of money by the client, and secured a purchase of the client’s small interest in the company for $275,000. Shareholder Michael Chase was the primary attorney on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. represented an investor in a Sacramento music festival who loaned $100,000 to festival promoters secured by what turned out to be worthless collateral. The firm successfully prosecuted claims for breach of contract and fraud, obtaining $210,000 in settlements from the promoters. Shareholder Michael Chase was the primary attorney on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel for one owner of an electronic goods distribution corporation responding to a petition for writ of mandate requiring a shareholders meeting to be held and other related relief.  The firm succeeded in defeating the petition, persuading the court that the petitioner was no longer entitled to assert the rights of a shareholder based on the corporation’s stock purchase agreement.  Shareholder Michael Chase was the primary Boutin Jones litigation attorney on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel for a large retail grocery store chain sued by an individual for allegedly infringing his civil rights. The firm succeeded in having the federal court action dismissed, persuading the court that the store did not violate the First Amendment in prohibiting the individual from setting up a table outside the store in a putative effort to register voters. Shareholders Steve Boutin and Michael Chase were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. successfully prosecuted a claim for recovery of significant losses incurred by a banking institution when it discovered that the mortgaged property was encumbered by a senior lien.  The firm obtained a favorable ruling on insurance coverage for the losses from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, facilitating a settlement. Shareholders Doug Hodell, Bob Swanson and Michael Chase were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel for a medical group in a dispute with a capitated health plan over the method of computing the capitated payments owed to the group under the parties’ agreement. The dispute arose after the passage of the federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 and the subsequent publication by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of Outpatient Prospective Payment System Relative Value Units (OPPS RVUs). The firm achieved a favorable settlement during the arbitration hearing which resulted in higher compensation to the group on a going-forward basis. Shareholders Michael Chase and Bob Swanson were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel for a medical group in a dispute with an insurance company over the rates the group was entitled to be paid for cutting-edge medical services provided to the insured patients. The firm’s trial team prevailed in arbitration at setting of the rate sought by the medical group, resulting in a significant increase in payments to the group by the insurer. Shareholders Steve Boutin and Michael Chase were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Class Action Defense

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel for a meat producer that was sued for allegedly mislabeling its meat products. The plaintiffs claimed the meat products at issue were falsely labeled as certified Halal, asserting that the method of slaughter employed by the meat producer did not comply with the plaintiffs’ beliefs about the requirements of Islamic law. Represented jointly by attorneys from three law firms, the plaintiffs sought to represent a proposed class of over ten thousand consumers. The firm succeeded in obtaining summary judgment on the plaintiffs’ claims based on federal preemption under the Meat Inspection Act. Shareholders Bob Swanson and Michael Chase were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel for a mortgage lender sued for over 23,000 alleged violations of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act arising from marketing calls made using an automatic telephone dialing system to leads obtained by a subcontractor who had secured potential borrowers’ consent to be called regarding a mortgage loan, but had not given that consent in writing. The firm succeeded in settling the action by payment of an agreed-upon settlement fund for those persons who were called and submitted claims, and to reimburse attorney’s fees. The federal court in which the action was pending approved the settlement. Shareholder Michael Chase was the primary Boutin Jones attorney on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel for a large retail grocery store chain sued for more than 3 million alleged violations of California’s Song-Beverly Credit Card Act arising from the use of a credit card transaction form that contained a space for the cardholder’s telephone number. The firm succeeded in achieving a classwide settlement of action by distribution of gift certificates to its customers and reimbursement of a portion of the claimed attorney’s fees. The California court in which the action was pending approved the settlement. Shareholders Steve Boutin, Michael Chase and Dan Stouder were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel for a large retail grocery store chain sued for alleged improper collection of sales tax on sales of distilled water bottles at over 100 stores. The firm succeeded in obtaining a judgment on the pleadings in its favor in the trial court, and the plaintiff’s appeal was dismissed in exchange for a waiver of nominal costs. Shareholders Steve Boutin and Michael Chase were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel for a large wireless telephone store chain sued for over 880,000 alleged violations of the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act arising from the printing of credit and debit card transaction receipts that contained a portion of the cards’ expiration dates. The firm succeeded in settling the action by payment of an agreed-upon settlement fund for its customers and to reimburse attorney’s fees. The federal court in which the action was pending approved the settlement. Shareholder Michael Chase was the primary Boutin Jones attorney on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel for a professional employer organization (PEO) sued for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act by and on behalf of employees working for one of the PEO’s clients, a pizza restaurant chain. The firm succeeded in compelling arbitration, enforcing a class action waiver and obtaining dismissal of the federal civil action. The firm then achieved a settlement prior to the arbitration hearing under which the PEO was reimbursed for much of its defense costs from the pizza chain, and paid no money to the plaintiff. Shareholder Michael Chase was the primary Boutin Jones attorney on this matter.

Intellectual Property Disputes

Mr. Chase has extensive experience in intellectual property disputes, including trademark and trade dress infringement disputes and Lanham Act unfair competition actions. Mr. Chase also has experience prosecuting trademarks and service marks before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and its Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

Real Estate Litigation

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel for a pear grower operating under an unwritten year-to-year lease with an orchard owner who, part way through the harvest year, disavowed the existing lease, and leased to a competitor who started operating on the orchard. The firm immediately filed suit and succeeded in securing the competitor’s agreement to leave the site and allow the grower to keep farming the orchard through the end of the harvest. Shareholder Michael Chase was the primary Boutin Jones attorney on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel for a commercial landlord in a dispute with the anchor tenant in a shopping center. After a three-week trial, the firm’s trial team succeeded in defending against the tenant’s claims that it was defrauded into entering into the lease because the shopping center did not comply with applicable zoning regulations, and prevailed on the landlord’s claims for breach of the lease and a personal guaranty. The firm helped the landlord obtain a judgment against the tenant for unpaid rent, as well as an award of attorney’s fees, exceeding $4 million. Shareholders Bob Swanson and Michael Chase were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel to the seller of an apartment complex sued for fraud and breach of contract on an $18 million transaction.  The firm’s trial team eliminated the fraud claims through a motion for summary adjudication.  The case proceeded to trial on the remaining claims.  After a four-week jury trial, the jury returned a defense verdict for the seller on all remaining claims.  Upon entry of judgment, the court granted the seller’s request for an attorneys’ fee award in excess of $350,000, which the client thereafter collected.  Shareholders Bob Swanson and Mike Chase were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel for a commercial tenant (a medical clinic) in a dispute with its landlord over the landlord’s desire to relocate the tenant to less desirable space. The firm prevailed in court in the landlord’s lawsuit against the clinic, and obtained from the court an award against the landlord for reimbursement of the attorney’s fees incurred by the clinic. Shareholders Steve Boutin and Michael Chase were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Healthcare

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel for a medical group in a dispute with a capitated health plan over the method of computing the capitated payments owed to the group under the parties’ agreement. The dispute arose after the passage of the federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 and the subsequent publication by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of Outpatient Prospective Payment System Relative Value Units (OPPS RVUs). The firm achieved a favorable settlement during the arbitration hearing which resulted in higher compensation to the group on a going-forward basis. Shareholders Michael Chase and Bob Swanson were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel for a medical group in a dispute with an insurance company over the rates the group was entitled to be paid for cutting-edge medical services provided to the insured patients. The firm’s trial team prevailed in arbitration at setting of the rate sought by the medical group, resulting in a significant increase in payments to the group by the insurer. Shareholders Steve Boutin and Michael Chase were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Detailed Practice Description

Mike Chase’s practice focuses on business, real estate and intellectual property litigation. His experience includes litigation involving real property disputes, trade secret issues, trademark, patent and copyright infringement claims and antitrust and unfair competition claims. Mike’s practice encompasses federal and state courts, appeals before the California Courts of Appeal and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and binding arbitrations.

It’s important, for the client’s sake, to have good relationships with opposing counsel. Even in heated battle, a lot can be gained for a client by communicating effectively and finding common ground with adversaries.

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Former law clerk to the Hon. Garland E. Burrell, Jr., U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of California, and the Hon. John T. Elfvin, Senior U.S. District Judge for the Western District of New York


Community

  • Member, Board of Directors, Powerhouse Science Center
  • Former Board Member, Sacramento Opera

Honors

  • Northern California Super Lawyer, 2016 – 2019
  • Sacramento Business Journal Best of the Bar, 2016, 2018 – 2019
  • Sacramento Magazine Top Lawyer, 2016-2019
  • Law school: graduated magna cum laude, book review editor, Buffalo Law Review