- University of California Berkeley
Moot Court Board Member
Senior Articles Editor, Berkeley Technology Law Journal
- University of Notre Dame
B.A. with honors 1985
Double Major: Government, Computer Applications
A senior member of the firm’s litigation group, Mark started his legal career in 1989 at the Silicon Valley office of the large national law firm of Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges, where he had a general commercial litigation practice. One of his first significant cases was working on a construction claim involving the San Jose Convention center.
In 1992, Mark joined American Lawyer Media. He spent 10 years at the company eventually running its Internet business, which led to him becoming Vice-President of Content Operations for Law.com. As a result, Mark gained extensive experience with Internet technologies and media legal issues.
In 2003, Mark returned to the private practice of law. He has specific expertise in trade secret law, as well as commercial disputes involving technology companies. Consistent with clients appreciating his sound advice, he also provides counseling to clients on commercial contracts and business negotiations.
Mark was a member of the successful Bank of America trial team in the case that resulted in the widely cited and significant reported California appellate decision establishing the trade secret pre-emption doctrine: KC Multimedia v. Bank of America (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 939. Mark also successfully represented Morgan Stanley & Co, Inc. in Affonso v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co et. al 2012 WL 1496192, (N.D.Cal 2012 (NO. C 10-5054 PJH)), where he obtained dismissal of the claim against his client on summary judgment. He has also represented small technology companies ensnared in class action litigation involving privacy claims.
Consistent with Thoits commitment to giving back to the community, Mark is also active in community volunteer work, having helped coach numerous youth sports teams, and served on the boards of local community organizations, including as treasurer of the Los Altos Education Foundation and a Committee Chair of the local scout troop. He lives in Los Altos, with his wife Sue, and their two children.
While at Thoits, recent matters include:
- Represented public company in International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”) arbitration and parallel California federal action over non-payment of money by European distributor. After substantive preliminary rulings in the ICC and federal action in favor of Thoits client, the matter resolved at mediation.
- Represented investor in bankruptcy adversarial proceeding purchased from trustee against debtor insiders who had filed bankruptcy instead of litigating state action brought by Thoits client on the merits. Matter resolved at settlement conference thereby ending four years of litigation between the principals wherein Thoits client successfully recovered more than $8 million.
- Represented company in five-day arbitration where minority owner of joint-venture sought money claiming venture had hidden profits that were not reported. Arbitration award denied all of the claims against Thoits client and awarded the client its attorney fees.
- Represented investment advisory firm and its members in arbitration where departing member sought seven-figure pay-out for his voluntary departure from the firm. After five-day arbitration, the arbitrator rejected all of the departing member’s claims and also found for the firm and its members on an unclean hands defense based on the departing member’s conduct.
- Represented public company in recovering money mistakenly wired to wrong account. Litigation required seeking and receiving ex parte restraining order in federal court against recipient who had engaged counsel and sought to negotiate a resolution whereby he would keep the money.
- Represented East Coast-based company in litigation against California-based employee who took confidential company information upon being informed of termination. After filing complaint, secured preliminary injunction against employee prohibiting the use or disclosure of the trade secret information.
- Assisted in defending a publicly traded company in a trade secret dispute, which settled after the plaintiff lost two motions for a preliminary injunction seeking to prohibit Thoits client from selling a wide range of its products.
- Represented a real estate investor in an interpleader action where other LLC members sought to prohibit distribution of more than $8 million to Thoits client. After aggressive motion practice, the trial court entered judgment in favor of Thoits client for the full amount of the interpleaded funds.
- Lead trial lawyer in a bitter partnership dispute over the ownership of a specialty media company. After a two-year battle, which included a contempt trial and finding of contempt against the plaintiff, the week-long trial in San Francisco concluded with the court ruling in favor of Thoits client’s cross-complaint and against all of the plaintiff’s affirmative claims.
- Represented defendant in elder abuse and breach of trust claim in which successor-trustee sought to void a real property gift made by previous trustee. Case successfully settled on terms where Thoits client kept real property gift and related party to Thoits client received benefits from trust unclaimed prior to the initiation of litigation by successor trustee.
- Represented client in successful appellate writ proceeding where ruling reversing trial court resulted in interpleader defendants and cross-complainants having to post multi-million dollar bond to stop release of interpleaded funds. As a result, trial court distributed more than $6 million to Thoits client and also required losing parties to pay $400,000 in costs and appellate delay damages.
- Represented private software company against publically traded company in federal court action seeking more than a $1 million based on claims that software did not work. Action resolved at mediation.
- Represented insurance beneficiaries in federal court interpleader action which resulted in entire proceeds of the multi-million dollar life insurance policy being distributed to Thoits clients after court ruled primary beneficiary was ineligible to receive the money because of his conduct.