Trial Pros: Miller Morton's David Kornbluh

June 2016

Law360, New York (June 16, 2016, 10:52 AM ET)David I. Kornbluh is the managing partner of Miller Morton Caillat & Nevis LLP, a firm founded in 1929 with offices in San Jose and Newport Beach, California. Kornbluh has more than 20 years of business litigation and trial experience with a primary emphasis on employment and business disputes. He regularly represents clients throughout California facing allegations of age, race, gender and disability discrimination; sexual harassment; wrongful termination; wage and hour violations; and unfair business practices. His practice also includes representing clients in business, partnership, landlord-tenant, real estate and Americans with Disabilities Act litigation.

Kornbluh has represented clients in various state and federal courts, as well as before the California Department of Labor, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Workers Compensation Appeals Board and other administrative agencies.

Q: What’s the most interesting trial you've worked on and why?

A: My most interesting trial involved representing financial planners who were accused of misappropriation of trade secrets and slander with a cross-complaint against their prior employer for slander. Twenty witnesses testified and the jury was shown dozens of emails. Walking the jury through how the employer manipulated documents to disparage my clients was challenging, but after three weeks of testimony and evidence the jury took three days to completely vindicate my clients and assess over a million and a half dollars in damages against their prior employer. The jury then awarded another $900,000 in punitive damages.

Q: What’s the most unexpected or amusing thing you've experienced while working on a trial?

A: A former professional football player was put on opposing counsel’s witness list. The football player knew nothing about the facts of the case and was called solely as a character witness. On direct examination the football player testified that he had participated in over one hundred “events” with the opposing party and he knew him to be a man of character. On cross examination the football player acknowledged that he had been paid to appear at those events with the opposing party. After confirming that he knew nothing about the facts of the case I told him I did not need to take up anymore of his or the jury’s time with further questions.

Q: What does your trial prep routine consist of?

A: My trial prep starts with choosing the exhibits that will be used at trial. I then build the outline of examinations, whether direct or cross based on the exhibits that will be used. I will then walk my witnesses through the outline of their direct examination and will use the deposition transcripts to craft cross examinations. Once the exhibits and examinations are prepared, I then turn to the opening statement.

Q: If you could give just one piece of advice to a lawyer on the eve of their first trial, what would it be?

A: Focus on the main issues and do not lose site of the forest through the trees.

Q: Name a trial attorney, outside your own firm, who has impressed you and tell us why.

A: Allen Ruby with Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Mr. Ruby commands the courtroom by conveying a thoughtful and sincere demeanor and is respectful to counsel, court and staff while vigorously representing his client.

The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm, its clients, or Portfolio Media Inc., or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.