Adam  Starr

Adam Starr


Adam Starr learned the art of simple storytelling from his experience as a kindergarten teacher. He now distills high-stakes business and technology disputes into concise and compelling stories for jurors and judges.

Adam is the co-chair of the firm’s software and technology group. He particularly enjoys representing video game developers, startups, creators, and inventors in intellectual property and royalty disputes. He loves protecting innovators and thought leaders against legal bullies and thieves.

By using a nimble and strategic approach—and a willingness to try cases—Adam safeguards his clients’ intellectual property. Because Adam is well-versed in the tools of development and design, including GitHub, JIRA, and Confluence, he brings a litigation advantage and significant cost savings to his clients. Likewise, he has used his understanding of startup business models (including the valuation, acquisition, and sales process) to create damages models based on revenue multipliers, resulting in greater recovery for his clients, instead of just relying on traditional lost profit principles.

Similarly, Adam has extensive experience working in the Roblox space, having represented multiple Roblox developers across an array of issues. Consequently, he has a deep understanding of the nuances of the Roblox platform, and the unique legal and practical issues associated with solving disputes involving Roblox studios, developers, and promoters. He also has a bench of experts and consultants in the software, copyright, and video game world that he can deploy on his clients’ behalf.

Adam has represented startups, creatives, and innovators across a wide range of products and industries, including software as a service, video games, toys, and construction technology. 

Adam’s recent trials include a two-week jury trial involving a partnership dispute, which resulted in a verdict of nearly $30 million in his client’s favor, the largest award in the history of Wasco County, Oregon. He also was part of the trial team that tried the largest trade secret jury trial in Oregon district court history, which resulted in a unanimous verdict in his client’s favor and against the defendant for misappropriation of trade secrets.

Follow Adam on LinkedIn and Twitter where he shares legal insights on the intersection of law and innovation for entrepreneurs and creators. 

Video Game Cases

Adam’s representative video game work includes:

  • Game creator v. Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., et al. (New York state court): Represented the co-creator of Grand Theft Auto, in a case involving his royalties and other compensation for the games he developed as president of Rockstar North. The claims against his former partners and co-creators included breach of contract, constructive discharge, and tortious interference with economic relations.
  • Roblox studios v. Social media company (San Francisco, Arbitration): Represented Roblox game studios in a dispute over the sale of a number of their Roblox games to a social media company in exchange for stock in the social media company. The Roblox game studios asserted that the social media company committed securities fraud by misrepresenting that it complied with the Children’s Online Privacy Act (COPPA), among other claims.
  • Social media company v. Roblox developer/promoter (Florida federal court): Represented Roblox game developer and promoter against accusations that he acquired and developed Roblox games in violation of his fiduciary duties.
  • Roblox developer v. Roblox studio (California federal court): Defended successful Roblox game studio in a copyright dispute involving Roblox games.
  • Roblox developer v. Roblox developer: Represented Roblox developer who alleged that his software code was stolen by a former contractor to create a competing game. The claims included breach of NDA, copyright infringement, and trade secret theft.

Intellectual Property Cases

Some of Adam’s representative IP casework includes:

  • Opal Labs Inc. v. Sprinklr, Inc. (Oregon federal court): Trial counsel for plaintiff Opal Labs, Inc. in the largest trade secret jury trial in Oregon history. The dispute involved allegations of software theft and espionage by Opal’s competitor. After a multi-week trial, the jury returned unanimous verdicts for misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of the parties’ confidentiality agreements. (See article here.) On the eve of a second trial, Sprinklr paid a large, eight-figure settlement to Opal.
  • California Expanded Metal Products Co. v. Clarkwestern Dietrich Building Systems, and James Klein (California federal court): Represented James Klein, the inventor of the FireStick and BlazeFrame, a revolutionary fire-stopping technology used in the construction industry, in a case involving breach of a patent license agreement, business torts, and a dispute over the ownership of his inventions.
  • ZoomInfo Technologies LLC. v. Nutanix, Inc. (Washington state court): Represented ZoomInfo, a software-as-a-service company, in connection with a breach of its licensing agreements. 
  • Cincom Systems, Inc. v. LabWare, Inc. (Ohio federal court): Represented a software developer in connection with a dispute over the development and use of a programming language. The claims included misappropriation of trade secrets, copyright infringement, and conversion.
  • Startup Company v. Nike Inc. (Oregon federal court): Representing a startup company that developed a proprietary anti-counterfeiting and brand protection system. The startup alleges that Nike, under the guise of partnering with the startup, used its access to steal the startup's trade secrets and create its own version of the system. 

Shareholder and Partnership Disputes

Adam also regularly handles shareholder and partnership disputes. He has extensive experience with ORS 60.952, the Oregon statute governing shareholder disputes, and corporate buyouts in closely held companies. Some of his representative shareholder dispute casework includes:

  • Martin v. Babikian, et al. (Oregon state court): Won a nearly $30 million jury verdict against an international penny stock scammer known as the "Wolf of Montreal." (See articles here and here.) The case involved a dispute over the existence and terms of an oral partnership to develop a vineyard in The Dalles. The verdict included lost profits, RICO multipliers, punitive damages, and the return of the vineyard.
  • Fahey v. Pacific International Maritime Medical Service, Inc. et al. (Portland, Arbitration): Represented the majority shareholders against claims of shareholder oppression (ORS 60.952), breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and defamation. Obtained dismissal of all tort and contract claims pre-arbitration hearing, and successfully co-chaired an arbitration hearing on the issue of share valuation.
  • Chief Financial Officer v. Closely Held Company (Portland, Arbitration): Represented former executive terminated on the eve of the vesting of his stock options and retaliated for reporting corporate waste. Claims include shareholder oppression (ORS 60.952), breach of contract, and violation of whistleblower statutes. The case settled favorably on the eve of trial.
  • Luken v. Christensen Group Inc. et al. (Washington federal court): Represented former shareholders and officers of Christensen Shipyards, one of the world’s premier yacht builders, in a case against a corporate raider. The former officers and directors claimed that the corporate raider drove the company into the ground, asserted claims for shareholder oppression and business torts, and sought more than $14 million in damages.
  • Hueer v. Green (Oregon state court): Represented the plaintiff, one of two co-owners of a company that was deadlocked. The claims included breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of trade secrets, and judicial dissolution. Adam was brought in at the late stages of the litigation to try the case. It settled on the eve of trial.

Real Estate Litigation

Adam maintains a thriving real estate practice. His property work includes construction finance, secured contracts, title insurance, guarantees, and lien priority disputes. Adam is also experienced in litigating disputes between homeowner associations (HOAs) and homeowners, condominium associations (COAs) and condominium owners, and neighbors.

Some of his representative real estate casework includes:

  • Rivera-Kontrabecki v. LDH LLC (San Francisco, Arbitration): Represented the prospective purchaser of a $4 million commercial building against a claim for breach of the purchase and sale agreement, based on the prospective purchaser’s decision not to waive contingencies in the contract. Adam prevailed at arbitration and was awarded his fees and costs.
  • Real Estate Developer v. Lender (King County, Washington): Represented a real estate developer in a dispute over the lender’s administration of construction loan proceeds. 
  • Holland Partners Glo v. Capmark, Inc. (Washington state court): Represented Holland Partners, a real estate developer, in connection with claims for breach of a multi-million dollar Cash Flow Participation Agreement, against a bank. The parties agreed that the developer’s secured bank debt would be reduced by credits the developer could earn by originating future real estate loans with the bank. However, the bank later refused to issue the credits.
  • Shirk v. Chicago Title Insurance Company (Ventura County, Arbitration): Defended title insurance company in claims for breach of contract and bad faith based on its refusal to cover homeowner’s claim for coverage on a recorded deed restriction. Co-chaired arbitration hearing.
  • MGE Underground v. Charnley Land, Inc. (California state court): Represented a pool of investors in a subdivision that failed after the great recession. The case involved lien priority disputes and equitable subrogation principles. Obtained a favorable settlement on the eve of trial.
  • Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, et al. v. Fontainebleau Resorts, LLC, et al.; Fidelity National Title Insurance Company et al. v. Soffer et al. (Florida state court): Represented a group of title insurance companies that were seeking a multi-million dollar recovery from the owners of the failed Fontainebleau Las Vegas casino project. 

Before joining Markowitz Herbold, Adam worked at Miller Starr Regalia, California’s preeminent real estate firm.

Pro Bono Work

Adam maintains an active pro bono practice. He has successfully tried numerous cases on behalf of domestic violence survivors, obtaining restraining orders against their perpetrators. Read Adam's recent article for the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel's The Verdict where he writes about his experience partnering with Legal Aid Services of Oregon (LASO) to handle Oregon Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) restraining orders. 

Education and Background

Adam served as a judicial extern for U.S. District Court Judge Robert Takatsuki, and as a summer intern at the Department of Justice, Office of the U.S. Trustee in Los Angeles.

He graduated from UCLA School of Law where he served as a staff member for the Journal of Law and Technology.

Before attending law school, Adam was a kindergarten teacher in Oakland, California with the Teach for America program.

He graduated with a B.A. in art history and psychology from Duke University. During college, Adam spent a semester in Japan, living in Buddhist monasteries and studying Buddhism, Japanese language, and architecture.

  • Best Lawyer, Best Lawyers in America, 2024
  • Rising Star, Oregon Super Lawyers, 2016
  • Member, Video Game Bar Association
  • Member, Multnomah Bar Association
  • Member, Oregon Women Lawyers
  • Member, Oregon Association of Defense Counsel
  • Member, Oregon Trial Lawyers Association
  • Member, Real Estate/Land Use Section, Oregon State Bar
  • Member, Real Property Law Section, California State Bar
  • Member, Litigation Section, California State Bar
  • Member, Contra Costa County Bar Association
  • Member, Litigation Section, Washington State Bar
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • California
  • United States District Court, District of Oregon
  • United States District Court, Central District of California
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of California
  • United States District Court, Southern District of California
  • United States District Court, Western District of Washington
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • UCLA School of Law — J.D.
  • Duke University — B.A., cum laude; multiple Dean's List with Distinction awards
  • Antioch College Abroad — Buddhist Studies Program, Kyoto, Japan

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