It is with mixed emotions that Sullivan Hill announces the retirement of Shareholder Jeffrey Lewin effective December 31, 2017. Mr. Lewin started his decades-long career as a summer clerk with Sullivan Hill in 1974 when the firm was named Sullivan, Jones & Archer. In 1975, he graduated from California Western School of Law with honors and was the National Champion for the Giles Sutherland Rich Patent Moot Court Competition. He was then hired by the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice as a Trial Attorney in the Chicago Field Office. As a trial attorney he ran an obstruction of justice grand jury investigation in San Antonio, Texas and investigated price fixing conspiracies involving agricultural products sold to the United States Food for Peace Program and barge traffic on the Upper Mississippi River. In 1976 Sullivan Jones & Archer hired Mr. Lewin as an associate attorney.
Throughout the years, Mr. Lewin has successfully tried dozens of lawsuits, including those involving antitrust, RICO, Lanham Act, fraud, breach of trust, products liability, breach of contract, employment, negligence, product defamation and punitive damages cases, in state and federal courts throughout the country. “Most of my legal victories were made possible by my colleagues at Sullivan Hill Lewin, Rez & Engel and its predecessors, especially my friend Don Rez who has been my colleague since 1978 and who was the architect of many of the legal theories I pursued successfully,” said Mr. Lewin. He has also trained more than 40 foreign lawyers over the last 20 years and has served as a member and chairman of the board of California Western School of Law.
Also notable, Mr. Lewin has been a member of the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association and the San Diego County Bar Association since 1976. He is also a member of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers. Mr. Lewin has served on the Steering Committee for the UCSD Economics Roundtable and on the board of the German American San Diego Foundation. He is an alumnus of the Louis B. Welsh Chapter of the American Inns of Court.
A few milestone cases:
- 1981 Exxon Nuclear Company retained Mr. Lewin as a member of a legal team which prosecuted antitrust counterclaims against Gulf Oil Corporation and its co-conspirators in the International Uranium Cartel. They conducted a 23 day sanctions trial which resulted in sanctions being imposed against Gulf Oil Corporation and a favorable settlement. This case was reported as General Atomic Co. v. Exxon Nuclear Co., 90 F.R.D. 290, (S.D.CA 1981).
- 1981 Mr. Lewin tried his first jury trial, a fraud case in Riverside County against a purported minister, and obtained a verdict for $50,000 in actual damages and $100,000 in punitive damages. All of the actual damages were collected.
- 1982 Mr. Lewin successfully defended a 13 day fraud case in Alameda County involving ownership of a wholesale meat business.
- 1983 Mr. Lewin defended funeral homes against State of California claims that pre-need funeral trusts were not being properly maintained and he successfully prosecuted a fraud case in Riverside County against trustees of pre-need funeral trusts who had misappropriated funds.
- During the first four months of 1985 Mr. Lewin tried for defendant Raymark Products Company the first personal injury products liability case alleging damages caused by asbestos to come to trial in San Diego County Superior Court. During the four months of trial the judge ruled against Raymark on every legal issue and switched the burden of proof on causation so that Raymark had the burden of proving that its products did not cause plaintiff’s alleged injury. Nevertheless, the jury returned a verdict for Raymark.
- 1988 Raymark Industries, Inc. retained Mr. Lewin to prosecute a RICO case in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas against a group of personal injury attorneys and physicians who obtained $50 million in settlements by means of allegedly fraudulent statements. After defendants’ motion to dismiss was denied in a decision published as Raymark Industries, Inc. v. Stemple, 714 F. Supp. 460 (D. Kan. 1988), the case settled on confidential terms favorable to Raymark.
- 1994 Mr. Lewin successfully tried Raybestos Products Company v. Gilbert W. Younger and TransGo, a RICO and product disparagement (Lanham Act) case in the United States District Court for the District of Indiana and obtained a judgment for approximately $5,000,000 which was largely affirmed on appeal (54 F.3d 1234 (7th Cir 1995)). Five years later, The National Law Journal publicized that case as one of only a few of the 100 largest judgments in the United States that had not only been affirmed on appeal but also satisfied.
- In 2001 Mr. Lewin successfully tried a fraud case in San Diego Superior Court on behalf of an investor against the promoter of an expedition to recover a World War II vintage B-29 bomber that had crash-landed on a frozen lake above the Arctic Circle in Greenland. The facts of the recovery expedition were featured in the NOVA documentary film, “Frozen in Time.” The judgment was collected in full.
- Since 2002 Mr. Lewin has represented a number of female investors in businesses who were cheated by their male business partners and recovered for them more than $35,000,000 in settlements.
- In 2008 Mr. Lewin led a team which successfully arrested in California a commercial aircraft operated by a Mexican airline operating company that owed $25,000,000 to a German commercial aircraft lessor. As a result, the client eventually recovered approximately $11,000,000.
- In 2008 Mr. Lewin successfully negotiated an elder abuse claim for a retired businessman who had been institutionalized for years by his estranged wife and daughter resulting in recovery of his liberty and his $14 MM estate.