Lee A. Dresie

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Greenberg Glusker Obtains $2M Verdict Against Regency Outdoor Advertising

September 12, 2011Press Release

Greenberg Glusker today announced that it has secured a two million dollar verdict against Regency Outdoor Advertising on behalf of its clients, West Hollywood nightclub Whisky-A-Go-Go and Ace Outdoor Advertising. Partner Lee A. Dresie was lead trial counsel in both phases of trial -- an eight-day trial on liability and damages, followed by a one-day trial on punitive damages. This is Dresie’s second seven-figure verdict this year.

“We were very pleased with the judge’s decision,” said Dresie. “The judge recognized the severe damages that Regency’s conduct caused our clients, and that a significant punitive damage award was necessary to discourage similar conduct in the future.”

The case involved Regency’s billboard sign on the rooftop of the Whisky, a musical landmark on the Sunset Strip of Los Angeles. Regency refused to surrender possession of the rooftop upon termination of its billboard lease. Regency’s actions prevented Ace, a rising force in the competitive outdoor advertising business, from taking over the rooftop in a timely manner.

The trial court concluded that Regency’s conduct breached its lease and was intended to and did interfere with Ace’s lease with the Whisky, justifying the award of damages to both the Whisky and Ace. During the proceedings, Dresie and colleague, Megan Rivetti, also established that Regency’s conduct had been malicious.

The trial court awarded the owners of the Whisky compensatory damages in the amount of $676,000 and an additional punitive damages award of $676,000 against Regency. The court also awarded Ace compensatory damages award of $302,000 and an additional $302,000 in punitive damages.

Dresie continued, “This award should put billboard companies on notice that tactics intended to interfere with the relationship between landowners and the company’s competitors will not succeed -- and can lead to severe consequences.”

Mikeal Maglieri, longtime owner of the Whisky, appreciated the result, “People who know me know that I refused to be pushed around. The efforts of Lee Dresie and Megan Rivetti made sure that I wasn’t.” Andy Bilanzich, Ace’s president, concurred, “For a growing company like Ace to take on a powerful and persistent company like Regency, it was important that we have powerful and persistent attorneys to protect us. Thankfully, we did. And you can put that on a billboard.”

Motions for an award of attorneys’ fees, costs and prejudgment interest will be heard later this year.