Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Los Angeles Trial Attorney Eliot Disner Dead at 62
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles trial attorney Eliot Disner has passed away at the age of 62.
The attorney lost his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, on Saturday. Services were held Monday at the University Synagogue in Brentwood.
Disner, the principal partner of the Disner Law Corporation, had been on inactive status with the State Bar since January, and his long-time friend and colleague Joel R. Bennett said Disner had been “in steep decline over the last year and a half.”
Bennett said that his friend was “an active and respected member of the antitrust bar,” who was “admired by everyone because of his dedication to his clients, to his family, and to his friends.”
He recalled Disner’s “terrific sense of humor,” and how he “cared deeply for the underdog and for unpopular causes and always felt free to speak his mind about that which he believed.”
In May 2007, Disner made headlines after he was fired by Richmond, Va.-based McGuireWoods for lodging an objection to the $49 million settlement negotiated by his firm in an antitrust class action against West Publishing Corp., the parent company of BAR/BRI.
Under the terms of the settlement reached in February 2007, about $36 million of the total was to be distributed among approximately 300,000 law school graduates who took the BAR/BRI course between 1997 and 2006.
Less than a week before Disner was fired, he filed a 13-page brief objecting to the settlement on behalf of three of the seven lead plaintiffs, arguing the firm should have sought at least $400 million and the break up of BAR/BRI.
Argument on the objectors’ appeals of the settlement was conducted before the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on March 3.
Disner filed the original suit in 2005 when he was a partner with Van Etten Suzumoto & Becket. He became a partner with McGuireWoods when the two firms merged in 2006.
After leaving McGuireWoods, Disner established the Disner Law Corporation with his son Perrin F. Disner, Bennett and intellectual property attorney Robert Ashen.
Despite Eliot Disner’s untimely passing, Bennett vowed that the corporation would continue to practice and carry on with its active cases.
During his 32-year career, Disner represented both plaintiffs and defendants, placing an emphasis on complex business litigation, including antitrust, copyright, trademark, trade secret, unfair competition, business interference, securities law, class actions, land use, construction, contract, insurance and other commercial disputes.
In 1998, he secured an $80.09 million award in favor of his client in a dispute over finder’s fees with a sand and gold mining business in Colangelo v. Morgan. Disner’s website claims the award was the fourth highest jury verdict in the state that year.
Other accomplishments touted on Disner’s website include his work in obtaining a multi-million dollar jury verdict in Los Angeles Land Co. v. Brunswick Corporation, a case brought in federal court in Los Angeles involving unlawful monopolization, interference with prospective economic advantage and bad faith denial of contract.
He also claimed to have obtained the first successfully-enforced private divestiture order under Sec. 7 of the Clayton Act in Parrish’s Cake Decorating Supplies, Inc. v. Pillsbury, before a federal court in Chicago.
Disner graduated from the University of Michigan and Harvard Law School, and was admitted to the State Bar in 1976. He was also licensed to practice in Michigan and the District of Columbia.
He is survived by his wife, Sandra Disner, sons Perrin and Seth Disner, and daughter Madeline Disner.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (ALS Division) located at 3415 South Sepulveda Boulevard, Suite 550 in Los Angeles, Bennett said.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company