John F. Whittemore handles all aspects of civil litigation, including appeals, with an emphasis on business, real estate, and trust and estate litigation. He represents plaintiffs and defendants in matters involving claims for quiet title, fraud, unfair competition, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent transfer, premises liability, and negligence. John’s legal and community accomplishments previously made him a finalist for the San Diego Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40.”
At BKF, John has developed a reputation of dedication to clients, and he engages in effective, passionate, yet civil advocacy on behalf of individuals and businesses. In addition to his litigation experience, John regularly advises individuals, businesses, officers, and employees in contract-based controversies, employment matters, and pre-litigation dispute resolution. He has experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants in matters involving claims including: quiet title, declaratory relief, fraud, negligent and intentional misrepresentation, unfair competition, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent transfer, cancellation of written instrument, premises liability, negligence, nuisance, and claims under Business and Professions Code Section 17200. He has obtained substantial settlements for his clients in breach of contract, fraud, and real estate matters.
John’s legal successes and achievements include:
In February 2021, argued before the Court of Appeal and defeated a writ petition challenging the trial court’s denial of an ex parte application seeking a trial continuance in October 2020 based on the COVID-19 pandemic even though the trial court implemented a wide range of safety measures to protect the health of everyone involved in the bench trial. (Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, et al. v. Superior Court (Feb. 26, 2021, D078087) [nonpub. opn.].)
In November 2020, obtained a judgment of $108,000,000 in compensatory and punitive damages following a bench trial on client’s fraud cause of action against defendants in a real estate action. The trial court also determined that various instruments, including assignments of deeds of trust and grant deeds, were altered by defendants and void as a matter of law. (San Diego County Superior Court Case No. 37-2011-00071216-CU-OR-EC.)
Represents plaintiffs in consolidated actions in San Diego County Superior Court alleging defendants fraudulently induced plaintiffs to assign security interests in multiple properties to defendants. In March 2018, John briefed and argued a successful motion brought under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 403 for the transfer and consolidation of actions in Los Angeles and San Bernardino to San Diego, despite opposition from nine defendants. Two of the defendants unsuccessfully sought writ review of the trial court’s order in the Court of Appeal.
Briefed and presented oral argument at the Court of Appeal in opposition to a writ petition filed by defendants after the trial court denied their 170.6 peremptory challenge as untimely (relating to the same consolidated matters discussed in the preceding point). In February 2019, the Court of Appeal unanimously affirmed the trial court’s ruling in a published opinion. (Sunrise Financial, LLC v. Superior Court (2019) 32 Cal.App.5th 114 [holding that the defendant made a general appearance in the action, thus triggering 15-day period for filing a peremptory challenge under Code of Civil Procedure Section 170.6].) The California Supreme Court denied the defendants’ petition for review.
Represents a client in a trust and estate dispute in Teton County, Wyoming, involving claims of intentional interference with contract and undue influence. In late 2018, John briefed largely successful oppositions to motions for summary judgment filed by the two defendants. Defendants sought summary judgment on all three of BKF’s client’s claims, but prevailed on just one. A two-week jury trial is scheduled for July 2022 in Jackson, Wyoming.
Briefed, argued, and defeated a motion in the trial court seeking roughly $200,000 in attorney fees against BKF’s client. The trial court adopted John’s argument that California Civil Code section 5975 (part of the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act) did not support an award of attorney fees where the action was not brought to enforce “governing documents.”
Defense of a client, a former trustee, in a 10-day bench trial in San Bernardino Superior Court against beneficiaries’ claims for breach of fiduciary duty and improper accounting.
Other representative matters have included:
Negotiated a six-figure settlement in Los Angeles Superior Court action for quiet title, declaratory relief, breach of contract, and fraud.
Successfully represented social media influencer with more than 1.2 million Instagram followers in the cosmetics industry by recovering substantial unpaid wages and negotiating more favorable employment terms, including the reduction of a renewal (evergreen) clause purporting to bind the client but not the company.
Represented a leading San Diego design company in an employment dispute with three of its former employees relating to the company’s non-disclosure agreement.
Successfully appealed the California Insurance Commissioner’s Order of Summary Denial entered in response to client’s insurance agent application by obtaining full reconsideration of the client’s application and issuance of a restricted but fully-functioning license.
Obtained $30,000 settlement for client in an underinsured motorist claim.
Prior to joining BKF as a summer associate in 2014, John was a judicial extern for Associate Justice Patricia D. Benke of the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One, in San Diego. Following his first year in law school, he was a participant in the San Diego County Bar Association’s Diversity Fellowship Program. Prior to law school, John was a marketing associate for The Eastridge Group of Staffing Companies (now Eastridge Workforce Solutions) where he gained valuable experience analyzing employment laws for the company’s 1099 compliance division.
John served as President of the international law fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta while at USD.
John enjoys swimming, hiking, playing tennis, traveling, and spending time with his family and friends.