John Brooks is a partner in the Business Trial Practice Group in the firm's San Diego office.
Areas of Practice
John defends insurance companies, health care service plans, retailers, and other consumer-facing clients in individual and class actions at both the trial and appellate level in California and across the country. John has a track record of success in complex, high-stakes disputes including unfair business practices, first-party and third-party insurance bad faith and coverage, antitrust, and false advertising.
John has substantial first-chair trial experience, and as an appellate lawyer has won numerous published opinions in state and federal appellate courts and the California Supreme Court. John is an elected member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers. John is also a contributing editor for the Rutter Group’s California Practice Guide: Insurance Litigation. John is also three-time recipient of the California State Bar’s Wiley W. Manuel for outstanding pro bono legal services and improving access to justice.
Mr. Brooks has a track record of success in complex, high-exposure class action and individual cases at the dispositive motion, trial, and appellate stages.
Notable Recent Successes (2014-present)
- After 4-week jury trial, won full defense verdict in favor of insurance company accused of bad faith failure to settle a $23 million liability claim against its policyholder. Policyholder had sought $23 million in economic loss, $23 million in emotional distress damages, and $180 million in punitive damages. (2018)
- Won unanimous California Supreme Court opinion holding that contractual indemnity offered by self-storage operator to tenants did not constitute the illegal sale of insurance. Heckart v. A-1 Self Storage, Inc., 4 Cal. 5th 749, 415 P.3d 286 (2018).
- Won dismissal of class action alleging that homeowner’s insurer unfairly reduced payments for repair damages for claims in which the insured did not elect to use the insurer’s “preferred” contractor. (2018)
- Won affirmance on appeal of dismissal of class action alleging that hospital client charged unauthorized and excessive expert witness fees when its physicians were subpoenaed to testify. (2018)
- After Court of Appeal ruled that insurer breached contract by refusing to defend claim for trade secret theft, won summary judgment by establishing that insurer’s refusal to defend, while erroneous, was reasonable. (2018)
- Won motion to dismiss ERISA claim for wrongful denial of medical benefits. (2018)
- Won unanimous defense verdict for insurer client following 10-day jury trial of claims for insurance bad faith and elder abuse in connection with client’s handling of claim for underinsured motorist benefits. (2018)
- Won full summary judgment in favor of insurer accused of retaliating against insured for the insured’s filing of complaints with the Department of Insurance. (2017)
- Won reversal on appeal of $4 million summary judgment against insurer client in case alleging bad faith failure to settle. The Court of Appeal ordered instead that summary judgment be entered in favor of the insurer. McDaniel v. Government Employees Insurance Company, 681 Fed.Appx. 614, 2017 WL 892516 (9th Cir. 2017)
- Under Louisiana law in a case of first impression, won reversal on appeal with directions to enter judgment for insured in a coverage dispute involving the effect of the “separations of insureds” clause on the enforceability of an employee injury exclusion. Petrozziello v. Thermadyne Holdings Corp., et al., 211 So.3d 1199. WL 658242 (La. App. 2017)
- Won summary judgment for insurer accused of bad faith denial of the duty to defend insured against claims arising from alleged self-defense. (2016)
- Summary judgment in favor of insurer client establishing non-coverage of $21 million judgment construction defect judgment against the insured. (2016)
- Summary judgment, under Hawaii law, in favor of insurer client in action seeking over $30 million in damages based on accusation that insurer’s delay in settling claim drove insured out of business. (2016)
- Affirmance on appeal, under Nevada law, of judgment in favor of client accused of bad faith handling of UIM claim. Sherwin v. Infinity Ins. Co., 639 Fed.Appx. 466 (9th Cir. 2016).
- Dismissal on anti-SLAPP motion of class action alleging that hospital client charged unauthorized or excessive expert witness fees when its physicians were subpoenaed to testify. (2016)
- Affirmance on appeal of judgment dismissing class action alleging that employer’s compensation system illegally incentivized sales agents to upsell. Rogers v. Automobile Club of Southern California, 2016 WL 1253528 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016).
- Affirmance on appeal of judgment in favor of insurer accused of bad faith failure to settle. Grayson v. Allstate, 650 Fed.Appx. 320 (9th Cir. 2016).
- Affirmance on appeal of judgment in favor of insurer accused of breach of duty to defend. Travelers Prop. Cas. Ins. Co. v. Shower, 648 Fed.Appx. 617 (9th Cir. 2016).
- After being brought in by health care service plan client on eve of trial in an $80 million certified class action by medical providers alleging underpayment for medical services, won class decertification and complete dismissal of the action without payment by the client. (2015)
- Published affirmance on appeal of judgment in favor of self-storage operator in class action alleging unlicensed sale of insurance. Heckart v. A-1 Self Storage, Inc., 243 Cal.App.4th 525 (2015).
- After being brought in two years into class action litigation, won complete dismissal through an anti-SLAPP motion of suit contending that a leading hospital group illegally charged excessive witness fees when its physicians were subpoenaed to testify. (2015)
- Successfully defended insurer against suit alleging bad faith denial of $60 million warehouse fire claim. (2015)
- After being brought in as replacement counsel after close of discovery, tried 4-week trial of UM bad faith claim, resulting in verdict less than 25% of plaintiff’s pre-trial demand. (2015)
- Published affirmance on appeal, under Missouri law, of judgment in favor of insurer accused of bad faith failure to settle a multi-claimant claim. Purscell v. Tico Ins. Co., 790 F.3d 842 (8th Cir. 2015).
- Complete defense award, following 9-day binding arbitration, in favor of insurer client against $20.5 million claim accusing insurer client of bad faith failure to settle. (2014)
- Defeated class action under Arizona law alleging that client had failed to adequately secure customer consent to waive UM/UIM coverage. (2014)
- Won dismissal on pleadings of claim accusing client of breaching duty to defend insured against a lawsuit alleging fraud in the sale of property. (2014)
- Won dismissal on pleadings of claim accusing client of breaching duty to indemnify in connection with a judgment for slander against attorney-insured. (2014)
Other Notable Engagements
- Victory at California Supreme Court in class action case of first impression attacking insurers’ contractual med pay reimbursement rights. 21st Century Ins. Co. v. Superior Court, 47 Cal.4th 511 (2009).
- Defeated class action seeking over $200 million based on allegation that premium installment fees were illegally collected. Interinsurance Exchange of the Auto. Club v. Superior Court (Williams), 148 Cal.App.4th 1218 (2007).
- Defeated two related class actions alleging false price advertising and misleading sales practices by motor club client. Davis-Miller v. Automobile Club of So. Cal., 201 Cal.App.4th 106 (2011).
- Defeated class action alleging that client unfairly and misleadingly provided less coverage than represented. George v. Automobile Club of So. Cal., 201 Cal.App.4th 1112 (2011).
- Defeated class action alleging violation of anti-steering statute. Maystruk v. Infinity Ins. Co., 175 Cal.App.4th 881 (2009).
- Represented restaurant, service, and government clients in defeating class actions under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act.
- Represented over half a dozen retailers in class actions alleging violation of California credit card privacy law
- Trial victory for insurer client in a quasi-class “representative action” alleging a variety of unfair claim handling practices.
- Trial victory for CEO/sole shareholder of tech company accused of liability for corporate debts on “alter ego” theory
- Trial victory for insurer accused of bad faith handling of UM claim.
- Trial victory for insurer involving a fraudulent claim for art theft.
- Heckart v. A-1 Self Storage, Inc., ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____ (2018) (unanimous California Supreme Court opinion holding that contractual indemnity offered by self-storage operator to tenants did not constitute the illegal sale of insurance)
- Heckart v. A-1 Self Storage, Inc., 243 Cal.App.4th 525 (2015) (class action alleging illegal sale of insurance by entity not licensed as an insurer)
- Purscell v. Tico Ins. Co., 790 F.3d 842 (8th Cir. 2015) (bad faith failure to settle)
- Travelers Prop. Cas. Co. v. LK Transportation, Inc., 3 F.Supp.2d 799 (2014) (duty to defend)
- Du v. Allstate Ins. Co., 697 F.3d 753 (9th Cir. 2012) (bad faith failure to settle)
- Davis-Miller v. Automobile Club of So. Cal., 201 Cal.App.4th 106 (2011) (class action alleging false advertising and unfair sales practices)
- George v. Automobile Club of So. Cal., 201 Cal.App.4th 1112 (2011) (class action challenging interpretation of contract)
- Maystruk v. Infinity Ins. Co., 175 Cal.App.4th 881 (2009) (class action alleging violation of Insurance Code anti-steering statute)
- Interinsurance Exch. of the Auto. Club v. Superior Court (Williams), 148 Cal.App.4th 1218 (2007) (class action alleging illegal collection of installment fees)
- Wave House Belmont Park v. Travelers Prop. Cas. Ins. Co., 244 F.R.D. 608 (S.D. Cal. 2007) (jury trial waiver)
- Department of Parks & Recreation v. Bazaar Del Mundo, Inc., 448 F.3d 1118 (9th Cir. 2006) (trademark infringement)
- Hemphill v. San Diego Ass’n of Realtors, 225 F.R.D. 616 (S.D. Cal. 2005) (antitrust class action procedure)
- Palacin v. Allstate Ins. Co., 119 Cal.App.4th 855 (2004) (insurance coverage)
- Hamilton v. State Farm Ins. Co., 270 F.3d 778 (9th Cir. 2001) (bankruptcy fraud)
- Freeman v. San Diego Association of Realtors, 77 Cal.App.4th 171 (1999) (price fixing and other antitrust claims)
Best Lawyer in America, Best Lawyers, 2020
Leading Lawyer, Chambers USA, 2019
- The Recorder, 09.05.2017
- The Recorder, 06.14.2013
- Daily Journal, 10.11.2012
- Human Trafficking & Supply Chain For California BusinessesTransworld Business, 10.13.2011
- Human Trafficking and Your Supply Chain: New Disclosure Requirements for Companies Doing Business in California10.07.2011
- Merchant Beware: A New Class Action May Be Stalking You If You Accept Credit CardsABTL San Diego Report, Fall 2007
- Installment Fee Class Action10.03.2007
- Liar's Bane: Using Judicial Estoppel in Civil LitigationABTL San Diego Report, 05.2002
- Summary Judgment in Peril?ABTL San Diego Report, 10.2001
- Point-Counterpoint: The Defense and Plaintiffs Bar Face Off on Kraus and CortezABTL San Diego Report, 08.2000
- GEICO Wins Bad Faith ClaimDily Journal, 02.02.2018
- "The Evolving Duty to Initiate Settlement Discussions," ACI 23rd National Advanced Forum on Bad Faith Litigation, Orlando, FL, November 28, 2012
- "Class Actions" Emerging Threats From Other States," 22nd Annual General Counsel Seminar, Las Vegas, NV, July 29, 2011
- "Class Action Litigation: New Theories of Liability and How to Protect Against Them," Luce Forward Insurance Litigation Seminar, Los Angeles, October 14, 2010
- "Don't Be the Next Target: Recognizing and Avoiding Insurance Class Action Risks," Luce Forward Insurance Litigation Seminar, Los Angeles, September 11, 2008
California Academy of Appellate Lawyers
Board of Governors 2004-2007, Editor-in-Chief of ABTL Report 2000-2004, Association of Business Trial Lawyers
San Diego County Bar Association