Paul D. Murphy's Profile Image

Paul D. Murphy

Phone: 310.899.3300
Fax: 310.399.7201

Professional Experience

Paul is a founding member of our firm. His years of impressive results for our clients are reflected in his highest possible ratings in Avvo and Martindale Hubbell, and in honors he regularly receives as one of the preeminent attorneys in his field, such as the Daily Journal’s Top 100 Attorneys in Southern California. In 2020, California’s Daily Journal named Paul and our partner Daniel Csillag’s defense verdict in a difficult federal False Claims Act case one of the Top Defense Verdicts of the Year. In 2022, Paul and the firm’s collective body of work resulted in the Daily Journal naming Murphy Rosen California’s Top Complex Business Litigation Boutique.

Paul’s experience focuses primarily on litigating and trying complex business disputes in a wide variety of areas including breach of fiduciary duty and other business torts; corporate and partnership disputes; breach of contract; professional malpractice; theft of trade secrets; and copyright and trademark infringement. Paul represents clients throughout the United States as well as abroad, including clients based in Great Britain, the Netherlands, China and Taiwan.

Paul also has extensive experience in filing anti-SLAPP motions, a vehicle by which we get cases against our clients thrown out at the initial pleading stage, often with our clients recovering their attorneys' fees. Over his career, Paul has filed and defended dozens of anti-SLAPP motions. Paul’s work in this area contributed to Murphy Rosen being honored as “Best for Anti-SLAPP Motions in California” by Legal Elite.

Paul is licensed to practice law in the states of California and New York, and has litigated and tried cases across the nation in state, federal and administrative law courts as well as in arbitration. He has also represented clients in various congressional investigations and has defended them in their testimony before Congress.

A representative sample of Paul’s current and recent cases include:

  • In a high-profile dispute between Angelina Jolie and her ex-husband Brad Pitt, Paul is defending Angelina against Pitt’s claim that she somehow violated an alleged unwritten, unspoken agreement that she would never sell her share of the couple’s jointly-owned winery without Pitt’s consent. We have cross-claimed on Angelina’s behalf, relying in part on Pitt’s unequivocal, written refusal to be bound by any such buy-sell agreement. The matter involves complex and delicate issues regarding the propriety of non-disparagement clauses, quasi-contract rights, corporate governance, and the interplay between the laws of California with those in France and Luxembourg. Ms. Jolie’s Cross-Complaint against Brad Pitt can be found here.

  • In protecting one of its charitable services clients, Murphy Rosen attorneys Paul Murphy and Daniel Csillag succeeded in convincing a Superior Court judge to declare two state statutes unconstitutional on their face for violating the First Amendment. Read the Daily Journal article here: "State's Charity Supervision Law Is Unconstitutional, Judge Finds." In the administrative trial portion of the case, Paul defeated the Attorney General’s claim that the charity’s accounting did not follow generally accepted accounting principles by forcing the Attorney General’s expert to admit on cross-examination that the charity’s accounting was acceptable, his own outlier opinion “was a lonely place to be,” and his confidence in his own opinion was “falling.”

  • Obtained a complete defense verdict in a Federal False Claims Act case alleging that our client was the mastermind of an importation scam that allegedly defrauded the U.S. Government of $33 million. Despite our client invoking his right against self-incrimination over 100 times on the witness stand, the jury still came back with a unanimous verdict in our client’s favor. The Los Angeles Daily Journal followed the case every day, including in a final article entitled, “How To Plead The 5th More Than 100 Times And Still Win.

  • Prosecuting a claim for legal malpractice against a high-profile lawyer and law firm concerning the drafting of trust documents covering a $60 million trust. Paul is also assisting in the related probate litigation as trial counsel. Most recently, Paul not only successfully defended our client at trial against claims that she caused over $30 million in damage to the trust, but the judge ordered the unsuccessful petitioner to pay most of our client’s related attorneys’ fees.

  • Prosecuted and defended cross claims between shareholders of two companies that own nearly 100 fast and fast-casual food franchises in the Southwest United States. After two officers misappropriated company funds, their corporate positions were terminated, their shares purchased at par value, and they were sued. The officers countersued, alleging damages of over $50 million. With trial looming, the last holdout officer walked away from the case, leaving our clients with total ownership and control of the entities.

Some of Paul's other significant cases include:

  • Defended medical service providers in a federal RICO case filed by State Compensation Insurance Fund alleging insurance fraud and seeking damages in excess of $110 million. After three years of very active litigation, the judge granted our clients’ motion for summary judgment on all claims and awarded our client millions of dollars in attorneys’ fees. That ruling was completely affirmed on appeal.

  • Prosecuted a trade secrets case in federal court on behalf of the largest provider of language interpretation services against a competitor who solicited our client's employees and misappropriated extremely sensitive trade secret information. The court issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the competitor from soliciting our client's customers or using the trade secret information. The court also granted our "anti-SLAPP" motion to strike the competitor's cross-complaint.

  • Successfully defended a $100 million claim filed by three lenders against the owners of a bankrupt real estate development company. The case involved overlapping state court and bankruptcy issues regarding successor liability and alter ego. By the time Paul and his team finished litigating the case, one lender dismissed its claims against our clients for a waiver of costs, and the other two lenders settled for well-below nuisance value.

  • After a jury awarded $10 million against two lawyers for legal malpractice, Paul was hired to take over the case and file post-trial motions. The motions were successful and the seasoned judge threw out the entire jury verdict against our client, noting that this was the first time she had ever granted a motion for new trial in her entire career.
  • Obtained a $5 million arbitration award for our client at an arbitration involving a dispute over the breach of an exclusive agency agreement in the garment industry between a U.S. sales agent and a Chinese manufacturing representative.

Paul also has a number of sub-specialties, and regularly represents:

  • Corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies in disputes involving misappropriation of funds and theft of trade secrets, as well over ownership and control of the business. These cases often require the prosecution and defense of highly complicated legal issues and the pursuit or defense of equitable remedies such as temporary restraining orders, preliminary and permanent injunctions, as well as other provisional remedies such as the appointment of receivers and provisional directors.

  • Charities in litigation with both regulatory agencies and third parties. These cases often involve complicated issues of freedom of speech and the inherent tension between costs to fundraise versus ensuring donated funds are directed toward accomplishing the goals of the charity.

  • Manufacturers and distributors of products containing asbestos, silica and other allegedly harmful substances in their products liability litigation.

  • High-profile college and professional coaches in various disputes, such as NBA basketball coach Bill Fitch in an action against the Los Angeles Clippers for wrongful termination and failure to pay guaranteed compensation.

In criminal cases involving complex business and accounting issues, Paul has frequently been hired to assist in the defense, including a case involving corporate embezzlement, espionage, healthcare fraud, campaign finance fraud, telemarketing fraud and counterfeiting of intellectual property.

Other Professional Activities

  • American Bar Foundation
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • Irish American Bar Association
  • Litigation Counsel of America
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Santa Monica Bar Association

Prior Professional Experience

  • Partner, O'Neill, Lysaght & Sun (1995-2003)
  • Associate, Davis Polk & Wardwell (1992-1995)
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable William J. Rea, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (1991-1992)

Avvo Award for Paul Murphy