Alan J. Kessel is a partner in the Commercial Litigation Practice Group of Pepper Hamilton LLP, resident in the Orange County and Los Angeles offices. Mr. Kessel focuses his practice on complex litigation and trial work in federal and state courts throughout the country, as well as arbitrations under the AAA. He represents a wide variety of publicly traded and privately held national and regional companies spanning multiple industries, including financial institutions, commercial and residential real estate developers, technology companies, health care plans, manufacturers and distributors.
In addition to his trial practice, Mr. Kessel has successfully argued numerous appeals in federal and state courts, including a landmark, unanimous decision published by the California Court of Appeal. Mr. Kessel also regularly provides preventive litigation and risk management services to a broad array of clients.
Mr. Kessel’s representative matters include:
- obtaining a complete defense judgment following a multi-week bench trial for a publicly traded financial institution in a case seeking $16 million in alleged damages arising out of a nationwide sale of distressed assets
- representing a consortium of 49 banks in a case involving a real estate development loan in which more than $235 million in claims were filed against the banks under various lender liability and fraud theories. Following the federal court’s dismissal of the $235 million in claims, with prejudice, the banks were awarded $12 million in compensatory damages after a three-week jury trial, in addition to the 630 acres of real property previously obtained
- representing a publicly traded bank in an ongoing fraudulent transfer and conversion case in which a $10 million cross-complaint alleging multiple lender liability claims against the bank was judicially dismissed, with prejudice
- serving as special trial counsel to the trustee in what was then the largest bankruptcy case filed in Los Angeles County history. Multiple cases were tried in the federal and state courts alleging fraud, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and fraudulent transfers; all claims and counter-claims were defeated in their entirety, and the bankruptcy estate was awarded several multimillion dollar judgments, in addition to several hundred acres of real property
- defending a national corporation in three misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition and breach of fiduciary duty and contract cases collectively seeking more than $27 million in compensatory damages. In the first case, the plaintiff’s claims were defended in their entirety and the client was awarded $3 million in damages on its cross-complaint after a three-month jury trial; the second case was similarly successfully defended following a jury trial that lasted several months, and was subsequently upheld by the Court of Appeal; and the third case was judicially dismissed before trial, with prejudice
- defending a developer in a multimillion dollar suit filed by an environmental group known for delaying real estate development projects through protracted litigation. The environmental group sued when land set aside by the developer to mitigate the environmental impact of the project was deeded to the county for conservation instead of to the environmental group. The developer not only prevailed on summary judgment, but also was awarded 100 percent of its attorneys’ fees and costs. The Court of Appeal subsequently upheld each of those decisions in a unanimous, published opinion
- represented a manufacturer against claims for fraud seeking more than $10 million in damages in connection with the sale of the business. The case was dismissed days before trial and ultimately resolved by the plaintiff’s relinquishment of a $600,000 arbitration award it had obtained against the client in an unrelated proceeding in which the client was represented by different counsel.
Prior to joining Pepper, Mr. Kessel was a partner at Baker & Hostetler and Manatt Phelps & Phillips.
Mr. Kessel is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and has been included in the Southern California Super Lawyers list. He also has been honored by various publications, including Forbes magazine. He has authored several articles on a number of legal and non-legal topics and has been a speaker and presenter at trial practice seminars.
Mr. Kessel earned his J.D. in 1987 from New York University School of Law, where he was a member of the Annual Survey of American Law. He earned his undergraduate degree, cum laude, in 1984 from Tulane University, where he was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Eta Sigma honor societies.
Mr. Kessel is admitted to practice in California and before each of the California federal and state courts.