John A. GrahamCo-Manager / Mediator / Arbitrator
John Graham has served as counsel for over 35 years for a wide variety of businesses, including financial institutions, leasing companies, and manufacturers as well as individuals. He has represented clients in mediations and arbitrations and has tried 70 cases to verdict. He argued a case before the Supreme Court of the United States which resulted in a unanimous decision in favor of his client. He has served as a court-appointment mediator in the United States District Court and United States Bankruptcy Court and as a Judge Pro Tem in the Los Angeles Superior Court.
In his law practice, Mr. Graham specializes in complex federal and state court litigation relating to business disputes, commercial law, lender liability claims, and chapter 11 reorganizations, major workouts, fraudulent business schemes, Ponzi schemes, criminal enterprises, money laundering, and federal forfeiture actions.
Additionally, Mr. Graham’s expertise includes problem-solving and litigation under the Uniform Commercial Code, including Article 2 (sale of goods), Articles 3, 4, 5, Article 9 (secured transactions), and Article 10 (personal property leases); defense of security interests, real estate secured transactions, the one-action rule, security-first rule, antideficiency statutes, and mixed-collateral foreclosures.
- Served as expert witness and provided testimony to the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division in Robert Gresham Gray v. Richard Smith, et. al., which involved a high-stakes dispute over ownership of a rare McLaren F1 racecar, one of only nine factory-built “Long-Tails” ever made. The English court required California law expertise on complex issues under Division 2 of the California Uniform Commercial Code, including the effect on title caused by a complex fraud by a duplicitous agent who purchased and later resold the McLaren racecar. The court’s judgment adopted the opinion formulated by Mr. Graham.
- Represented Union Bank in its appeal to the United States Supreme Court in Union Bank v. Wolas, 502 U.S. 151 (1991), which resulted in a unanimous decision in favor of petitioner Union Bank.
- Designed and implemented legal strategies on behalf of trustee in bankruptcy in a complex Ponzi scheme matter involving leasing and financing of equipment. The legal proceedings resulted in published rulings awarding creditors $82 million.Teleservices Group, Inc. v. The Huntington National Bank, 444 B.R. 767 (2011); Teleservices Group, Inc. v. The Huntington National Bank, 469 B.R. 713 (2012).
- Retained by Visa and Mastercard to represent credit card industry on an issue of national significance regarding bankruptcy fraud standards in Household Credit Services, Inc. v. Christopher W. Ettell; Marla Ettell, 188 F.3d 1141 (9th Cir. 1999).
- Represented clients in many national Chapter 11 reorganizations, including such cases as Alamo Rent-a-Car, Storage Technology Corporation, NuCorp Energy, Maxicare, and Leisure Technology.
- Represented the American Bankers Association, California Bankers Association, and the California League of Savings Institutions in their amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court in Timbers of Inwood Forest, 484 U.S. 365 (1988).
- Represented the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Parker North American case which resulted in a favorable Ninth Circuit opinion protecting attorney-client privilege between creditors' committees and counsel (Marcus v. Parker, 978 F.2d 1159 (1992)).
- Represented Crocker National Bank as trial counsel in In re American Mariner, 734 F.2d 426 (1984).
Background & Education
- Partner, co-chair of the Bankruptcy Group, member of the Litigation Group, Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP, 1997-present
- Pepperdine University School of Law, Institute for Dispute Resolution Graduate, 1995
- J.D., University of San Diego School of Law, 1976
- B.A., Pennsylvania State University College of Science, 1972
Memberships & Professional Affiliations
- Court-Appointed Mediator, United States Bankruptcy Court Mediation Program, Central District of California, 1995-present
- Court-Appointed Mediator for the United States District Court, Central District of California, assigned by the Court to assist in the settlement of complex commercial disputes, 2007-present
- Judge Pro Tem, Los Angeles Superior Court, 1993-1995
- Judge Pro Tem, Los Angeles Municipal Court, 1989-1992
- Member, Financial Lawyers Conference, Los Angeles County Bankruptcy Forum, Orange County Bankruptcy Forum, American Bankruptcy Institute
- Member, Board of Directors of the Los Angeles County Bankruptcy Forum, 1994-1996
Awards & Recognition
- Recognized as one of Los Angeles Magazine's Southern California's Best Lawyers, 2012
- Selected as a Southern California Super Lawyer, 2013