Litigation & trial practice

Manning Leaver is known for its litigation practice throughout California.  The list below shows some of the litigation areas in which we practice. We always strive to resolve disputes without litigation, but there are times when the only way a matter can be resolved is through the litigation process.

Consumer litigation

Manning Leaver handles all aspects of defending a dealer client against a consumer claim, starting from responding to a Consumers Legal Remedies Act letter and going all the way through trial. The firm’s emphasis is to evaluate consumer claims early on to develop appropriate strategies for settlement or litigation. In the event of litigation, the firm is ready to address arbitration, mediation, discovery matters, law and motion matters, trial and appellate issues, as necessary. At the beginning, the firm provides guidance to clients on any available insurance defense coverage for such claims. 

Consumer class action defense

Manning Leaver has a strong expertise in defending consumer class action lawsuits. The key issues regarding such class actions are carefully evaluated and the appropriate strategy planned at the outset to respond to case developments, including resisting overly burdensome discovery, moving to strike inapproriate class claims or remedies, opposing class certification, and when appropriate, crafting a class settlement agreement.

Business litigation

Manning Leaver litigates complex commercial matters for its clients. Developing creative litigation strategies, extensive document review, thorough witness preparation, and the careful selection of expert witnesses are all a part of the firm’s services relating to this kind of litigation. 

New Motor Vehicle Board representation

Manning Leaver provides legal guidance to vehicle, motorcycle and truck dealers regarding all types of factory-dealer issues. Over the years our firm has developed the expertise to handle this very specialized area of law,  and has represented many vehicle, motorcycle and truck dealers before the California New Motor Vehicle Board. We have handled numerous protests from start to finish involving dealership terminations, add points, warranty and incentive audits, and relocation of dealerships. We can also help dealers negotiate contract terms with the manufacturers/distributors and advise dealers about their rights in the factory-dealer relationship.

Bankruptcy creditor representation

Manning Leaver represents creditors in bankruptcy court proceedings. Assisting in the preparation of creditors’ claims, litigating contested creditor issues, and reviewing Chapter 11 plans are examples of the services the firm provides in these proceedings. 

Employment litigation

Manning Leaver assists employers facing employee claims such as wrongful termination and discrimination in all aspects of litigation.

Trade secret litigation

Manning Leaver provides complete legal services to clients litigating trade secret cases, including evaluation of the trade secret, and seeking or opposing injunctive relief which is often the key aspect of such cases.

Personal injury/wrongful death defense

Manning Leaver defends clients against personal injury and wrongful death claims. In litigating these claims, the firm reviews available insurance coverage analyzes the defenses which may be applicable to the case, consults with experts where appropriate, and considers other potentially responsible parties, all as part of developing a viable defense strategy. 

Asbestos defense

Claims for asbestos injuries continue to be filed against businesses, particularly automobile dealerships. A typical claim comes from a former employee claiming asbestos injury over years of repairing vehicles. These cases can be quite complex because of the number of parties involved in the asbestos exposure liability chain, such as manufacturers, suppliers, and end users. There is also the difficulty in locating liability and workers compensation insurance carriers, and the time the policies were in effect, to provide insurance coverage. Often there are questions about  the nature of the injuries, whether they were caused by asbestos exposure, and whether there are other contributing factors to the claimed injury. Manning Leaver has handled a number of these type cases and has the experience to raise all appropriate defenses to these types of claims and pursue other responsible parties for inemnity.

Construction defect litigation

Manning Leaver provides representation regarding construction defect litigation. Key aspects of this representation include the review of potentially applicable insurance coverages, the identification of other potentially responsible parties, and consultation with expert witnesses.

Franchise litigation

Manning Leaver litigates franchise disputes before the California New Motor Vehicle Board and in state and federal courts. The firm’s keen understanding of the statutes that protect franchisees is a key part of this representation. See a description of these services by going to the Auto Dealer Practice section of the "Services" tab above.


Manning Leaver handles probate of estates, creditor claims in probate, probate litigation, and trust administration. The probate and trust area of the law can often be perplexing to clients. We can help you through this oftentimes complicated procedure.