PAUL N. PHILIPS
Mr. Philips began his legal career in law school as a judicial extern for the Honorable James M. Ideman at the United States District Court for the Central District of California, and has since then zealously managed complex litigation against some of the nation’s largest and most powerful corporations, including but not limited to Universal Music Group, Uber, Lyft, Glaxo Wellcome, General Motors, Yamaha, Ford Motor Company, MGM, Polaris, Nike, Apple, Sony, EMI, Club Car, Sumitomo Chemical Company, Dow Chemical, Specialized Bicycles, and various insurance carriers and governmental entities.
An established entertainment lawyer in heart of the nation's hottest entertainment market, Mr. Philips also represents numerous A-list music producers, musical artists, sound engineers, and songwriters, negotiating agreements as a sought-after "deal maker" for some of the nations most prolific performers. In all, Mr. Philips has negotiated and closed deals for some of the industry's most well known Grammy-nominated, Grammy-certified, and Grammy-winning entertainers. Additionally, Mr. Philips became a certified NFL Player Agent in the early 2000s, representing professional football players in negotiations with NFL teams and various sponsors, and has represented many professional athletes in varied matters ever since. While managing a thriving entertainment law practice, Mr. Philips has also spent decades litigating historic lawsuits to highly favorable conclusions.
In the mid-1990s, he was selected as a member of a team of attorneys successfully representing residents of Hinkley, California in massive litigation against utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric. Mr. Philips’ work on the case contributed to his clients receiving more than $300,000,000.00 in resolution of the action. The case is now legend, having been retold in the 2000 feature film “Erin Brockovich.”
In 2000, in a federal action filed against New York Life Insurance Company, Mr. Philips was again selected to assist in leading a small team of attorneys at one of California’s largest insurance bad faith litigation firms. The case was filed following failed negotiations directed at obtaining life insurance policy benefits for heirs of survivors of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The action settled for more than $20,000,000.00.
In 2001, Mr. Philips was approached by a group of policyholders to file a complex action against a major insurer following the 1994 Northridge, California earthquake. Mr. Philips’ representation in that action contributed to the matter resolving for more than $7,000,000.00.
Mr. Philips' entertainment clients have included numerous high-profile celebrity music, film, television and stage performers, and in 2004, Mr. Philips successfully represented a celebrity client in large-scale litigation against Zsa Zsa Gabor that garnered international media attention and coverage.
In 2013, Mr. Philips filed a class action against Nike, Inc. and Apple Inc. over their marketing and design of the Nike+ FuelBand, alleging on behalf of what became a national class, that the two technology and fitness giants had together misled the public regarding their product's capabilities. The case resulted in an amicable resolution for a class of more than 1,000,000 people throughout the United States.
From 2013 through 2015, Mr. Philips successfully represented the interests of the family of legendary songwriter, composer, and performer Marvin Gaye, in a high-profile federal copyright infringement action against Universal Music Group and music superstar personalities Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke, and T.I., resulting in a verdict in favor of the Gaye family in the amount of $7.4M – believed to be the largest music copyright infringement verdict in recorded legal history.
Also in 2015, Mr. Philips was retained to successfully defend the nation’s most well-known fertility clinic in an action filed against his client and actress Sofia Vergara. The litigation concerned first impression legal issues pertaining to one’s right to the possession of frozen embryos, and resulted in repeated international media attention focused on the question of whether Mr. Philips’ client and Ms. Vergara would be required to assist the plaintiff in his quest to bring to life cryogenically-preserved embryonic material created by Ms. Vergara and himself. Mr. Philips’ work on the case, in concert with Ms. Vergara, contributed to the plaintiff dismissing his action unilaterally.
In 2016, Mr. Philips filed litigation that earned national media attention over a “sucker punch” attack on Jordan Peisner, a California teen whose permanent injuries resulting from the attack forever changed his life. Mr. Philips worked with legislators, simultaneously with the filing of Jordan’s lawsuit, to introduce Assembly Bill 1542, which ultimately became California Penal Code section 667.95, now known as “Jordan’s Law.” Jordan’s Law is a first-in-the-nation statute designed to deter the commission of social media-motivated felonies by maximizing the sentence for those who conspire with violent offenders to videotape the commission of a crime. AB 1542 was signed into law in record time, just 10 months after the attack for which Mr. Philips sued.
In 2017 Mr. Philips successfully represented a principal actor from Peter Jackson’s $3.1B “The Hobbit” franchise in intellectual property litigation centered on his client’s trademark infringement claims.
Also in 2017, Mr. Philips filed a first-of-its-kind action, single-handedly taking on the world's most powerful talent agency (Creative Artists Agency) and its agent in a landmark #metoo action, on behalf of an actress alleging sexual battery, gender violence, harassment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress as a result of her agent's conduct and the agency's related action and inaction. The filing resulted in several Hollywood Reporter articles, was picked up in international news, and marked a turning point in the entertainment industry's recognition not only of the depth of Hollywood's sexual harassment culture, but of the industry's deep gender disparity in positions of power.
In 2018, Mr. Philips continued his representation of high level clients, successfully negotiating against one of the world's largest film and television studios on behalf of its senior executive client, whose employment with the studio became the subject of dispute. Mr. Philips was able to achieve a resolution for his client that ended the discord short of litigation, and on terms highly favorable to the studio executive.
Mr. Philips continues to secure publishing, administration, label, and production deals for top-level musical talent, and has successfully negotiated clients out of one-sided and often illegal agreements in which entertainers find themselves.
Additionally, in representing entertainers in film, television, music, and social media, and as a warrior for an individual's right to freedom from harassment and violence, Mr. Philips has fought for and obtained myriad restraining orders for his clients designed to protect them from both harassing and often violent behavior including civil harassment, domestic abuse, child abduction.
Mr. Philips has also represented many business owners in entity formations and transactions, as well as in intellectual property and business litigation, and presently represents several music clients, from Grammy winners with label deals to young musicians beginning their careers in independent recording and production.
He has been invited to speak at legal education seminars for other attorneys, has appeared as a guest legal analyst on several television programs, and has written numerous articles for nationally distributed business publications on topics of state and federal business law.
Mr. Philips is a member of the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and the Beverly Hills Bar Association, and has acted as an advisor to The 100 Percenters, a non-profit lobbying foundation advocating for all music creatives with a focus on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and marginalized creatives in a bid to secure for all music creatives equitable access to opportunities, revenue streams, education, and support.
In his spare time, Mr. Philips is happily busy with his family, which includes his wife Brooke, one college grad, and four still in college. He is an avid fan of music, basketball, and football, and hopeful amateur drummer.