Location: Irvine, California
Brodie Smith is a partner at Lanza & Smith. He has practiced primarily business and real estate litigation since 2002, with a focus on RICO cases (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), and employment defense. Prior to partnering with Mr. Lanza, Mr. Smith also litigated at a construction defect defense firm, representing both general and sub-contractors. Mr. Smith has had a remarkable history of success in trials and arbitration hearings, and a large percentage of Mr. Smith’s practice is in United States District Courts.
- Mr. Smith and Mr. Lanza defended seven parties in a federal RICO lawsuit brought by the largest importer of garlic from the People’s Republic of China into the United States. The case proceeded in parallel with administrative actions by many of the same parties in the United States Department of Commerce. Mr. Smith and Mr. Lanza obtained dismissals of the firm’s clients on motions to dismiss, which were appealed to the Ninth Circuit (published opinion), and then remanded to the District Court in part. The facts surrounding this case became the basis of a Netflix-produced documentary episode exposing corruption in the food industry. See, Rotten, ep. 3, “Garlic Breath.”
- In one of the administrative proceedings related to the garlic cases (above), Mr. Smith appeared and argued in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, resulting in another published opinion. This resulted in the publication of a nonfiction book in 2019, entitled The Garlic Papers, a Small Garlic Farm in the Age of Global Vampires.
- Mr. Smith has handled a substantial number of partnership and shareholder disputes (so-called “business divorces”).
- Mr. Smith and Mr. Lanza, as co-trial counsel, defended a $6.5 million RICO lawsuit on behalf of three defendants sued by one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of computer memory products. The jury verdict was a complete defense win.
- Mr. Smith, on behalf of a client, challenged the Internet’s largest provider of employer reviews on the issue of reviewer anonymity. In a discovery dispute that his opponent appealed to the California Supreme Court on a writ of mandamus, with amicus briefs filed by Wikimedia and the parent company of Google, Mr. Smith prevailed for his client.
- Mr. Smith and Mr. Lanza served as outside general counsel to one of the largest and fastest growing search engine optimization companies (SEO) in the United States. Among other victories on behalf of this client, Mr. Smith obtained a judgment for copyright infringement, including an injunction against a competitor preventing the competitor from further infringement.
- Mr. Smith represents manufacturers of flash memory products, including AMP Inc., in complex litigation.
- Mr. Smith and Mr. Lanza prosecuted a class action against the largest bank in the United States for its loan modification practices in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis. The lawsuit was consolidated with other class action cases from around the country. (JPMorgan Chase Mortgage Modification Litigation, MDL No. 2290, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.) Working with co-counsel from other states, Mr. Smith and Mr. Lanza helped bring the case to a settlement that was reported widely in the news media.
- In a lawsuit between California real estate developers related to a shopping mall in The People’s Republic of China, Mr. Smith and Mr. Lanza obtained dismissals for their three defendant clients (with Summary Judgment Motions pending) without payment.
- Mr. Smith has also defended at trial a number of escrow companies, mortgage brokers and commercial real estate brokers, achieving defense verdicts; he also defends employers against claims by employees and former employees, including FEHA and all types of employment discrimination and wrongful termination claims.
- Mr. Smith prosecutes and defends trademark and copyright lawsuits. Most recently, he obtained substantial settlements in two separate IP infringement cases.
Mr. Smith has handled complex litigation matters in state, federal, and appellate courts. These have generally included lawsuits involving fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, directors & officers liability, malicious prosecution, wrongful termination, and contract disputes. He also has a significant real estate litigation background, including landlord-tenant disputes, mechanics’ liens, breach of real estate contracts, nuisance, trespass, premises liability, and related commercial lease topics.
Mr. Smith also advises clients and guides the formation of various business entities, including corporations and limited liability companies. He negotiates and drafts buy-sell agreements, non-competition agreements, asset sales, stock sales, commercial leases, licensing agreements, and other business transactions.
Mr. Smith graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1999 and received his Juris Doctorate from Loyola Marymount University School of Law in 2002. While at Loyola, Mr. Smith served as Articles Editor on the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review and received the First Honors Award (formerly American Jurisprudence Award) in Employment Law. He is admitted to practice before all California state courts and the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
Areas of Practice
- Real Estate
- Business Litigation
- RICO Litigation
- TCPA law
- Contract law
- Civil Appeals
- California, 2002
- U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 2002
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 2017
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, 2018
- U.S. Court of International Trade, 2018
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, Washington DC, 2019
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, 2022
LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
- J.D. – 2002
- Dean’s List for 2000-2001, 2001-2002 Academic Years
- Honors: First Honors Award, Employment Law
- Law Review: Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, 1999 – 2002
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY, BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA
- B.A. – 1999
- Beyond Force Majeure and Frustration of Purpose: How Else to Defend a Contract Claim Based on COVID-19, OC Lawyer Magazine, June, 2020.
- Pleading RICO, the Recorder Legal Periodical, March 18, 2011
- Note, Wells Fargo v. Commissioner: Deductibility of Corporate Officer Salaries, Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, 34, 2002
- Various blog posts on Lanza & Smith website on topics including RICO proximate cause and “slack fill” cases