Jonathan E. Sommer



  • University of Texas School of Law (J.D. 1997)
    • With Honors
    • Associate Editor of the Texas Law Review
    • Order of the Coif
  • Williams College (B.A. History, 1992)
    • Cum Laude


Bar Admissions

  • California
  • Texas 

Court Admissions

  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • United States District Court, Northern District of California
  • United States District Court, Central District of California

Representative Matters

  • Represented a REIT in an action against a hedge fund asserting business disparagement and other claims arising from anonymous statements made by the hedge fund concerning the REIT. Prevailed on interlocutory anti-SLAPP appeal. Bass et al. v. United Development Funding, L.P. et al., 2019 WL 3940976 (Tex.App.—Dallas Aug. 21, 2019).
  • Represented a real estate company in a dispute arising from the bankruptcy of its former law firm. O&C Creditors Group, LLC et al. v. Stephens & Stephens XII, LLC et al., 42 Cal.App.5th 546 (2019).
  • Represented against Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs in San Francisco Superior Court action for market manipulation arising from intentional naked short selling of the company’s stock. Obtained a reversal of order granting summary judgment against Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corporation. Landmark ruling held market manipulation statutes can cover manipulation by clearing firms and prime brokers., Inc. v. Goldman Sachs & Co., 231 Cal.App.4th 513 (2014). Case settled for $20 million after remand for trial.
  • Represented a Silicon Valley multifamily property owner in defending claims tied to a $110 million purchase and sale contract. Rutherford Holdings, LLC v. Plaza Del Rey et al., 223 Cal.App.4th 221 (2014).
  • Represented officers and directors of a biotech start-up accused of control person liability for securities fraud under Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act. Obtained a walk-away settlement after completion of discovery and filing of a summary judgment motion.
  • Represented a New York investment fund in successfully collecting payment on a promissory note secured by a high-end Union Square retail building. Defeated the preliminary injunction efforts of the borrowers, and, in the ensuing bankruptcy proceedings, collected $55 million in principal, plus $10 million in default interest and costs, for a total recovery of $65 million for the firm’s client.
  • Represented a company in compelling arbitration of an employee’s claims, resulting in a published decision in favor of the company. Ulbrich v., Inc., 887 F.Supp.2d 924 (N.D. Cal. 2012).
  • Represented officers and directors in defense of adversary proceeding arising from the bankruptcy of a Bay Area supermarket chain.
  • Represented an insurer in enforcing an arbitration agreement under Federal Arbitration Act. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. v. Mortgage Guaranty Ins. Corp., 642 F.3d 849 (9th Cir. 2011).
  • Represented a Bay Area commercial property developer in obtaining the dismissal of CERCLA claims. Palmtree Acquisition Corp. v. Neely, 771 F. Supp. 2d 1186 (N.D. Cal. 2011) and 2010 WL 3910370 (N.D. Cal. 2010).
  • Represented a Canadian domain name registrar in a fee dispute. Morrison & Foerster v. Corp., 2008 WL 648481 (N.D. Cal. 2008).
  • Represented in a defamation and market manipulation action against stock analysts and Rocker Partners, a leading short-selling hedge fund. The company prevailed on an anti-SLAPP motion at the trial court and appellate level. v. Gradient Analytics, et al., 151 Cal.App.4th 688 (2007). The case was settled, resulting in both a retraction and a monetary settlement.
  • Represented The Toronto-Dominion Bank in obtaining summary judgment on claims arising from the contested acquisition of an options trading firm. MJT Securities, LLC v. The Toronto-Dominion Bank, 2007 WL 1725421 (N.D. Cal. 2007) and 2006 WL 1236661 (9th Cir. 2006).
  • Represented a nationally-known trial lawyer in obtaining a substantial settlement related to a large purchase of misrepresented antiques.
  • Represented Deloitte & Touche in obtaining the dismissal of securities fraud claims.  Wilson v. Microfinancial, Inc. and Deloitte & Touche LLP, 2006 WL 1650971 (D. Mass. 2005).
  • Represented Cisco Systems in obtaining a multimillion-dollar arbitration award against a former executive for breach of fiduciary duty and summary judgment on the executive’s defamation claim arising from statements in The Wall Street Journal. Bennett v. Cisco Systems, Inc., 2003 WL 1949616 (6th Cir. 2003).
  • Represented a securities trader in obtaining summary judgment in the arbitration of partnership claims.
  • Represented a family matriarch in conservatorship litigation. In re Conservatorship of Nadine Hathaway, 2002 WL 31859461 (Cal. Ct. App. 2002).
  • Represented Stern Grove Festival pro bono in obtaining a take-nothing arbitration award.

Jonathan E. Sommer is the former chair of the Litigation service group at Lubin Olson and a partner in the Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Real Estate Litigation, and Securities service groups. He has a wide-ranging commercial litigation practice, with emphasis on real estate, securities fraud, defamation and business disparagement, and business torts and contracts. His practice has ranged from smaller cases involving disputes among partners and family-owned businesses to larger cases against some of the most formidable investment banks and hedge funds in the world. In larger cases, he has teamed up with his partners at Lubin Olson to oppose national law firms in litigating high-profile matters subject to ongoing press coverage. The full transcript of one of his depositions of a hedge fund manager was featured in The New York Times.

Mr. Sommer has litigated in state and federal trial and appellate courts and before private arbitration panels. In addition to real estate and securities, he has litigated cases involving partnership disputes, officer and director liability, defamation and business disparagement, landlord-tenant, land use, trade secrets, mergers and acquisitions, unfair competition, false advertising, attorney-client disputes, accounting malpractice, and insurance coverage.