Janet E. Humphrey | Managing Partner
Ms. Janet E. Humphrey is a trial lawyer with over thirty years of experience in complex business and real estate litigation matters. Ms. Humphrey has substantial lead trial experience in both jury and bench trials in state and federal court. She has tried more than fifty cases before juries, judges and arbitrators, achieving excellent results for her clients. Ms. Humphrey has also handled appellate matters before the Courts of Appeal for the State of California and for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal. In addition, Ms. Humphrey is a member of the Board of Advisors for Chapman University Dale. E. Fowler School of Law, where she also teaches upper division law classes. She also regularly lectures on a wide variety of real property issues, including insurance bad faith, escrow liability, lender liability and trial practice. Ms. Humphrey has served as a judge pro tem for the Orange County Superior Court, and has an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell.
Ms. Humphrey has a wide range of clients that range from Fortune 500 companies to local businesses and individuals. She has litigated hundreds of cases involving a wide variety of issues including business disputes, title and escrow liability, lender liability, insurance bad faith, easement and encroachment disputes, fraud and forgery claims, lien priority, officer and director liability, securities fraud, trade secret and unfair competition matters and employment-related matters. Ms. Humphrey regularly represents title insurers and title companies in breach of contract and insurance bad faith lawsuits, as well as their insureds (lenders and owners) in real estate disputes. Her clients include Doma Title Insurance, Inc., North American Title Insurance Company, First American Title Insurance Company, Stewart Title Guaranty Company and Fidelity National Title Insurance Company.
Ms. Humphrey has experience representing clients in professional liability matters, having represented the Resolution Trust Corporation and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in litigation claims against officers and directors of Imperial Savings Association, Great American Bank and American Savings Bank. She also has a strong employment law background, providing advice and counsel on a wide range of issues as well as providing training on numerous employment issues. She has litigated employment harassment and discrimination claims as well as wage and hour disputes.
Ms. Humphrey obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree (criminology) from Simon Fraser University and her Juris Doctor degree from Pepperdine University School of Law. In addition to the California State Bar, Ms. Humphrey is admitted to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and the United States District Courts for the Central, Southern, Northern and Eastern Districts of California. She is also a member of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers and an affiliate member of the California Land Title Association.
Ms. Humphrey obtained a trial court judgment in favor of her client, an innocent property owner who was defrauded by a well-known career criminal, in a complex real estate fraud case leading to multiple arrests. At the conclusion of the civil trial, adverse parties and witnesses were arrested by the Orange County District Attorney’s office for forgery, recording and filing false instruments, preparing false evidence and perjury.
Ms. Humphrey obtained a non-suit after a three-week jury trial in an insurance bad faith case. She successfully represented a title insurer in a bad faith action arising from the denial of a claim by the title insurer for a missed lien. The insured claimed compensatory damages in excess of $1 million, plus punitive damages. After a three-week jury trial, the trial court granted the title insurer’s motion for non-suit.
Ms. Humphrey obtained a summary judgment in favor of her lender client in a real estate Ponzi scheme fraud case. She successfully represented a mezzanine lender against securities, tort and authority claims by plaintiff investors who were defrauded in a massive Ponzi scheme involving the sale of tenant in common interests in a senior living facility in Northern California, alleging damages in excess of $40 million. After six years of litigation, she obtained summary judgment on all claims alleged against her client.
Ms. Humphrey obtained favorable federal court and state court decisions for her investor clients in a dispute involving a mixed-use development project. A former hotel operator filed state and federal actions in an attempt to assert an interest in the property pursuant to an option agreement. The Firm represented investors seeking to develop the property into an oceanfront mixed-use project. After the federal court dismissed the Lanham Act claims, the state court action was resolved in favor of the investors after the state court expunged the former hotel operator’s lis pendens, following an evidentiary hearing on a motion to expunge lis pendens.
After a three-week trial, Ms. Humphrey obtained a judgment in favor of the owner of a large retail development shopping project against a tenant alleging tort and contract claims relating to the construction of the project and complex percentage rent provisions in a commercial lease.
Ms. Humphrey obtained a trial court victory in a dispute regarding scope of a granted easement. She successfully represented several rural property owner defendants in an action brought by a neighboring land owner to increase the scope of a granted easement, and for damages resulting from her inability to develop the property. After a four-week court trial, her client obtained a verdict in favor of all defendants, and obtained an ancillary award of damages.
Ms. Humphrey successfully represented a property owner in a five-day bench trial establishing an implied easement and an equitable easement to maintain encroachments that had been in existence for over thirty-five years.
Ms. Humphrey obtained multiple trial court judgments in a series of disputes involving implied, equitable, prescriptive and necessity easement claims. She successfully represented a private school against two consecutive lawsuits brought by a neighboring property owner attempting to assert nuisance and trespass claims and to establish easement rights over the school’s property. Ms. Humphrey was successful at trial in defeating both lawsuits.
Ms. Humphrey successfully represented a homeowner in a contentious neighbor dispute establishing the boundary between neighboring oceanfront properties after a one-week bench trial involving complex survey issues and testimony.
Ms. Humphrey secured a jury verdict in employment-related claims brought by her client, a former sales executive. She successfully represented an executive employee against a former employer involving complex accounting issues. She also represented the executive’s current employer against trade secret claims. After a one-week jury trial, the jury awarded the executive substantial damages on all causes of action. Ms. Humphrey also had the claims against the current employer dismissed.
Ms. Humphrey obtained an early victory in favor of a purchaser of commercial property against a lender who failed to perfect its lien interest. She established that the client was first to record its interest against the property and not to have notice of the prior interest. This early victory saved the client substantial money in attorneys’ fees and costs.
Ms. Humphrey obtained a summary judgment in favor of a title insurer against a private party lender whose loan servicer absconded with loan proceeds in a refinance transaction. In addition, she also secured a summary judgment on behalf of the subsequent lender who complied with a payoff demand before the loan proceeds were converted by the loan servicer. The court found as a matter of law that the title insurer owned no duties as a matter of law and that the subsequent lender fully complied with the payoff demand.
Ms. Humphrey successfully represented an employer against claims brought by a former employee alleging sexual harassment claims. After the employee filed an action in the superior court, she had the matter transferred to arbitration, where the claims were strategically litigated, leading to a quick settlement.
Ms. Humphrey represented an employer in defeating a former employee’s disability discrimination claims. After several depositions were taken, Ms. Humphrey had the former employee’s claims dismissed.
Ms. Humphrey secured an arbitration award in favor of her large corporate employer client, successfully defeating an employee’s claims of sexual orientation discrimination. An arbitration award was granted in favor of the employer.
- J.D., Pepperdine University School of Law (1990)
- Class Agent for the Class of 1990
- President, Pepperdine Moot Court Board (1989-90)
- American Jurisprudence Award (Trial Practice) (1990)
- B.A. (Criminology), Simon Fraser University, Canada (1987)
- President, Criminology Student Union
- Member, California Land Title Association
- Member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers
- Member, Board of Advisors, Chapman University, Fowler School of Law
- Member, Association of Transportation Law Professionals
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, Orange County Bar Association
- Judge Pro Tem, Orange County Superior Court
- Lecturer, California State Bar Annual Meeting and Fall Section Education Institute
- Executive Committee Member, Law Practice Management and Technology Section of the California State Bar
- Attorney Coach and Judge, Constitutional Rights Foundation