Small Monterey Firms Join Forces

by By Joshua Sebold

Attorneys from Bohnen, Rosenthal & Kreeft announced Wednesday they will merge into fellow Monterey firm L&G LLP Attorneys at Law.

Litigator Robert E. Rosenthal will make the move in January along with three litigation associates: Sergio H. Parra, Laura L. Franklin and Matthew R. Rankin. Thomas P. Bohnen will become a sole practitioner focusing on his estate planning practice. Andrew B. Kreeft left the firm earlier this year to work for Farmers Insurance Group in San Jose.

Jeffrey R. Gilles, managing partner of L&G, said the four litigators would greatly expand the abilities of his firm to take on general and specialized litigation work.

“We are mainly into transactional law, land use,” Gilles said. “We have a large client base composed of agriculture companies throughout California.”

He said L&G handles a variety of land use and food safety litigation along with commercial litigation. Adding litigators will allow the firm to expand that work and gain a personal injury practice, an area in which Rosenthal has expertise.

Gilles said the firm hopes to continue expanding its estate planning and family law capabilities.

Rosenthal said his small litigation firm gained some notoriety after earning a verdict of $12.5 million in a products liability suit against Toyoto Motor Corp. and its U.S. subsidiaries in late 2014. His firm represented a 17-year-old girl who was rendered paraplegic in a car crash due to a seat belt design flaw.

Rosenthal said the added attention from the case brought more work than his firm could handle. Fortunately, he recently met Gilles while the two firms were litigating a case against each other.

The case involved a dispute among business partners that got heated and personal. Rosenthal said he was impressed with Gilles’s ability to calm his client’s emotions and find a solution that worked for everyone involved.

After the case resolved, the two attorneys began a collegial conversation that eventually resulted in the merger.

“It was an opportunity to put together a firm that provides any type of service for any type of client, other than criminal law,” Rosenthal said.

L&G has also been in the news recently for victories representing PV2 Energy LLC in its plan to open the Panoche Valley Solar Project.

The firm defeated challenges to the plan’s Environmental Impact Report brought by the Sierra Club and the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society and the 6th District California Court of Appeal upheld that decision in 2013.

In September the firm convinced San Benito County Superior Court Judge Harry J. Tobias to reject another challenge the environmental groups brought against a more recent update to the EIR.

The combined firm, which will keep the L&G name, has 14 attorneys with offices in Hollister, Monterey and Salinas.

joshua_sebold@dailyjournal.com

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