One of the nation’s leading law firms,

specializing in complex business litigation.


Food Borne Illness

Gordon + Holmes’ representative plaintiff cases have involved national food-borne illness outbreaks where hundreds of people were sickened from eating contaminated food. The Firm has overseen the complex interaction between insurance companies including policy analysis, victimized restaurants, and valuation of personal injury claims.

  • In Foodmaker v. Vons Mr. Gordon was lead counsel obtained $58.5 million in settlement for Foodmaker arising out of contaminated ground beef claims. Over $100 million in personal injury claims were paid. At the time it was the largest E.coli outbreak in US History.
  • Chi-Chi’s, a Mexican eatery, suffered the largest Hepatitis A outbreak in a restaurant in the history of the United States.
  • Sheetz, Inc. was the largest salmonella outbreak in a restaurant in U.S. history.
  • In Chi-Chi’s, Inc. v. Castellini, et al,, an arbitrator awarded $53 million for lost profits and indemnity claims, including $40 million in personal injury claims.
  • In Sheetz vs. Coronet, over $5 million in lost profits was recovered and $7 million in personal injury claims were paid. It was the largest salmonella outbreak in a restaurant in US History.
  • Gordon + Holmes represented Worldwide Restaurants in two cases involving food borne illness claims. In Sizzler Restaurants vs. Excel Corporation, et al., a jury awarded Sizzler $7.1 million in lost profits and $4.5 million in personal injury claims stemming from the manufacture and distribution of E.coli contaminated beef. In Pat & Oscar’s v. River Ranch Fresh Foods, et al., a total settlement in excess of $6 million was obtained for lost profits arising out of the sale of E.coli contaminated pre-packaged lettuce along with $6 million in personal injury claims.
Complex Business Litigation

Gordon + Holmes has handled a variety of complex litigation cases that range from antitrust cases to real estate developer disputes and breach of contract matters. Gordon + Holmes has tried cases against some of the largest law firms in the nation, representing clients of all sizes while capitalizing on their in depth knowledge and extensive experience as trial attorneys.

  • In Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego v. Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., Mr. Gordon was lead council who obtained $40 million in settlement for schools and youth groups as a result of Reader’s Digest’s alleged monopolization of the magazine subscription fund raising industry.
  • In Third Ave. v. Hahn Corp., Mr. Gordon obtained $1.65 million in settlement during trial in a fraudulent inducement case. The case was tried as an adversary proceeding in a bankruptcy proceeding on behalf of the debtor-in-possession. The settlement reflected a 100 percent return of the investment, plus attorneys fees.
  • In Sarkisian v. Worldwide Restaurants, Gordon + Holmes defended Worldwide Restaurant Concepts and Charles Boppel on fraud claims emanating from the acquisition of the Pat & Oscar’s restaurant chain. Plaintiffs sought $36 million in damages. The Firm obtained a defense verdict and recovered all attorneys fees.
  • In Idanta Partners v. Joseph Pike, Idanta Partners, a venture capital firm, alleged Joseph Pike had conspired to improperly foreclose on the assets of the start-up company in order to create a new company. The claim was for $150 million. Mr. Pike paid zero as a result of the trial.
  • Rhonda Holmes handled a qui tam whistle-blower case against Hercules, Inc. helping to recover more than $50 million.
  • Gordon + Holmes represented Walter Sweeney against the NFL Pension Fund, obtaining a $3 million judgment.
Eminent Domain & Condemnation

Gordon & Holmes has a distinguished track record handling eminient domain and inverse condemnation cases. Partners Fred Gordon and Rhonda Holmes have nearly 50 years of combined professional experience in handling every aspect of condemnation law from initial contact by a public entity, through relocations, administrative hearings, trial and appeal. Their success in eminent domain trials has earned them four Outstanding Trial Lawyer Awards (1998, 2000, 2004, 2005) and one Trial Lawyer of the Year Award (2004)

  • Gordon + Holmes obtained $1.7 million on behalf of a liquor store and property owner (Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Diego v. Attisha) in an eminent domain trial.
  • Gordon + Holmes obtained a jury verdict in excess of $11 million in Redevelopment Agency v. Plant/SDRS, an eminent domain case which included at the time the third largest goodwill verdict ever in California.
  • Ms. Holmes obtained a $4 million jury verdict, and an additional $1.1 million in litigation expenses for Erreca’s, Inc. (People of the State of California v. Erreca’s) in 1997.  It was the third largest goodwill verdict ever in  California.
  • Ms. Holmes obtained a jury verdict $3 million in an eminent domain trial on behalf of American Recycling (People of the State of CA v. American Recycling which was the largest goodwill verdict ever in California), plus $1.2 million in litigation expenses.
  • In 2003, Ms. Holmes obtained a jury verdict of $2,397,604.00 plus litigation costs of $99,881.00 in SDMTDB v. RV Communities, which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals and cert. denied by the Supreme Court in 2005.
  • In 2004, Ms. Holmes obtained a jury verdict of $7,815,513.84 plus litigation costs of 496,791.94 in People of the State of CA v. Hall. This was the largest inventory award ever.

General Civil Litigation

Gordon + Holmes has handled a variety of General Civil Litigation matters involving breach of contract cases representing vendor and service providers. As experienced trial attorneys, Gordon + Holmes’ approach is to view all cases through intake to completion with an eye toward how will 12 people view their clients’ presentation.

  • In Idanta Partners v. Cosmoderm Technologies, Gordon + Holmes represented a venture capitalist who had acquired certain rights to various anti-aging patents and technologies. Prior shareholders brought suit for fraud, conversion, and other causes of actions seeking $1.5 billion in damages. Gordon + Holmes successfully defended the client who ended up paying nothing as a result of the claims.
  • In Sarkisian v. Worldwide Restaurant Concepts, Gordon + Holmes represented Worldwide Restaurant Concepts against claims of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentation, and breach of contract stemming from its acquisition of a family owned restaurant chain. After a four week trial, Gordon + Holmes defended the claims and Worldwide Restaurant Concepts ended up paying nothing.
  • In Budd v. Smokeless Tobacco Brand, Inc., Gordon + Holmes represented Timothy Budd, a named Plaintiff in the Smokeless Tobacco Anti-Trust litigation. The class successfully resolved its claims for a payment of approximately $100 million.

Real Estate

Gordon + Holmes has extensive experience in Real Estate Litigation involving local, regional and national matters.

  • In Girard Development L.P. v. Centex Homes. Gordon + Holmes represented Victor Fargo, a developer who sold a condominium project in La Jolla to Centex Corporation while retaining his rights to oversee the final construction of the project. Unbeknownst to the client, Centex had altered the design without approval, causing a massive amount of additional expenditures. Gordon + Holmes successfully resolved Mr. Fargo’s claims for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty for the sum of $1.5 million.
  • In Coronado City Views v. Regatta Bay, Gordon + Holmes obtained a jury verdict of approximately $6.2 million for fraud and breach of contract stemming from one developer’s broken promises to Gordon + Holmes client which caused his development to incur massive delays and cost overruns.
  • In SCC Acquisitions, Inc. v. Jacqueline Eston, Gordon + Holmes defended their clients from claims for breach of contract wherein Plaintiffs sought in excess of $40 million in damages for breach of contract for the sale of real estate. Instead, the Jury accepted Gordon + Holmes’ evaluation of the project limiting damages to $4 million.