Adam Starr

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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 co-chair of the firm’s software and technology group. He particularly enjoys representing startups, creators, and inventors in intellectual property and royalty disputes. He relishes the opportunity to protect innovators and thought leaders against legal bullies and thieves.

By using a nimble and strategic approach—and a willingness to try cases before a jury—Adam is able to safeguard 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.

He has represented startups, creatives, and innovators across a wide range of products and industries, including software as a service, video games, toys, and fire-stopping technology used in the construction industry. Some of his representative casework includes:

  • Opal Labs, Inc. v. Sprinklr, Inc. (Oregon federal court):  Representing Opal, a software as a service provider, as lead counsel in a software dispute seeking over $200 million in compensatory and punitive damages for fraud, breach of contract, and misappropriation of trade secrets.
  • Kids II, Inc. v. XRT, Inc. (Georgia federal court):  Represented the inventor of the Oball baby toy, one of the most popular baby toys in existence, in a multi-million dollar royalty dispute with Kids II, a large baby toy manufacturer and distributor. Co-chaired jury trial in Federal District Court in Georgia. Obtained directed verdict on certain disputed toys.
  • Leslie Benzies v. Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., Rockstar Games, Inc., Rockstar North Ltd, Dan Houser and Sam Houser (New York state court). Represented Leslie Benzies, 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. After considerable discovery, he achieved a favorable settlement.
  • 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 firestopping 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. Obtained favorable settlement on eve of trial.

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

  • 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).  Representing former executive who was terminated on the eve of the vesting of his stock options and in retaliation for reporting corporate waste.  Claims include shareholder oppression (ORS 60.952), breach of contract, and violation of whistleblower statutes.
  • 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. The case successfully settled during mediation.  https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2016/05/25/991106/0/en/Christensen-Group-Sues-Tennessee-Tycoon-for-Driving-Vancouver-Business-Christensen-Shipyards-Into-Financial-Ruin.html)

Adam has extensive experience in California, Oregon and Washington State and federal courts, and in all stages of the litigation process, including trial. 

Prior to joining Markowitz Herbold, Adam worked at Miller Starr Regalia, California’s preeminent real estate firm. He 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 amongst neighbors.

Some of his representative real estate case work 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.
  • 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. The bank later refused to issue the credits. The case settled favorably on the eve of trial.
  • 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 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. The case settled favorably. https://www.hotel-online.com/archives/archive-29834/

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. He also 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. Prior to 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.

Adam Starr

Shareholder

contactsvCard
printPrint

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 co-chair of the firm’s software and technology group. He particularly enjoys representing startups, creators, and inventors in intellectual property and royalty disputes. He relishes the opportunity to protect innovators and thought leaders against legal bullies and thieves.

By using a nimble and strategic approach—and a willingness to try cases before a jury—Adam is able to safeguard 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.

He has represented startups, creatives, and innovators across a wide range of products and industries, including software as a service, video games, toys, and fire-stopping technology used in the construction industry. Some of his representative casework includes:

  • Opal Labs, Inc. v. Sprinklr, Inc. (Oregon federal court):  Representing Opal, a software as a service provider, as lead counsel in a software dispute seeking over $200 million in compensatory and punitive damages for fraud, breach of contract, and misappropriation of trade secrets.
  • Kids II, Inc. v. XRT, Inc. (Georgia federal court):  Represented the inventor of the Oball baby toy, one of the most popular baby toys in existence, in a multi-million dollar royalty dispute with Kids II, a large baby toy manufacturer and distributor. Co-chaired jury trial in Federal District Court in Georgia. Obtained directed verdict on certain disputed toys.
  • Leslie Benzies v. Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., Rockstar Games, Inc., Rockstar North Ltd, Dan Houser and Sam Houser (New York state court). Represented Leslie Benzies, 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. After considerable discovery, he achieved a favorable settlement.
  • 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 firestopping 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. Obtained favorable settlement on eve of trial.

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

  • 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).  Representing former executive who was terminated on the eve of the vesting of his stock options and in retaliation for reporting corporate waste.  Claims include shareholder oppression (ORS 60.952), breach of contract, and violation of whistleblower statutes.
  • 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. The case successfully settled during mediation.  https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2016/05/25/991106/0/en/Christensen-Group-Sues-Tennessee-Tycoon-for-Driving-Vancouver-Business-Christensen-Shipyards-Into-Financial-Ruin.html)

Adam has extensive experience in California, Oregon and Washington State and federal courts, and in all stages of the litigation process, including trial. 

Prior to joining Markowitz Herbold, Adam worked at Miller Starr Regalia, California’s preeminent real estate firm. He 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 amongst neighbors.

Some of his representative real estate case work 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.
  • 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. The bank later refused to issue the credits. The case settled favorably on the eve of trial.
  • 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 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. The case settled favorably. https://www.hotel-online.com/archives/archive-29834/

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. He also 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. Prior to 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.