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Feb

18

2020

Venus Burns Joins Joseph & Cohen as Senior Associate

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – February 18, 2020.  Joseph & Cohen, Professional Corporation, announced today that Venus Burns has joined the Firm as a Senior Associate.

Ms. Burns comes to Joseph & Cohen as a skilled litigator specializing in business litigation, employment law and commercial disputes. She is an experienced trial attorney, bringing over 10 years of expertise in litigation working at large national litigation firms.

The breadth of Ms. Burns’s experiences extends to every phase of litigation, having managed hundreds of cases from intake through trial. She is particularly adept at client counseling, depositions, discovery, pre- and post-trial motions, as well as handling all phases of trial.

Jonathan Cohen, head of the Firm’s litigation practice, said, “We are extremely excited to have Venus join our team as she has a profound dedication to client service and a proven track record in obtaining the best result for her clients.”

Ms. Burns added, “Having spent the last 10 years of my career at a large, national plaintiff’s firm, I’m excited to join a practice that marries the same doggedness I’ve come to admire in advocates for the little guy with the intelligence, experience, and tactical-thinking of some of the most talented litigators that I’ve ever come across.”

Ms. Burns has successfully first and second-chaired numerous jury trials to verdict and/or settlement, most recently (prior to joining Joseph & Cohen) having obtained a $3 million jury verdict in her client’s favor. Her strategic workup of cases and tenacity in the courtroom has resulted in significant recovery for clients, including multiple multi-million dollar settlements.

Ms. Burns is well regarded by her peers and community. Every year since 2017 she has been selected as a “Top 40 under 40” trial lawyer nationally by the National Trial Lawyers Association; and from 2016-2019, she was named as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers. Ms. Burns has been a speaker at several national trial attorney conferences.

Joseph & Cohen, Professional Corporation, is a Financial Services and Litigation Boutique headquartered in San Francisco and emphasizes complex banking, credit union, corporate, private equity and financial services matters, regulatory and bank enforcement defense, private equity, employment and commercial litigation services.  Joseph & Cohen is known for sophisticated expertise, extraordinary commitment to clients, relationship-based services, and a range of specialized skills typically found only in the largest American law firms.

For additional information about Joseph & Cohen, Professional Corporation, please visit our website at http://www.josephandcohen.com.

Press Contact:  Jonathan Joseph at Joseph & Cohen, 415-817-9250 or jon@josephandcohen.com.

Feb

10

2020

James C. Olson Joins Joseph & Cohen as Senior Partner

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – February 10, 2020. Joseph & Cohen, Professional Corporation, proudly announced today that James C. Olson, a nationally esteemed lawyer and advisor with over 40 years of experience, has joined the Firm as a Senior Partner.

Mr. Olson expands the Firm’s financial services, bank regulatory, fintech, corporate and transactional capability. His expertise includes significant banking and financial services industry mergers and transactional experience, federal and state regulatory matters as well as extensive skill in corporate governance, commercial and corporate debt and equity finance, syndicated credit facilities, treasury matters, derivatives and other complex financial transactions. He regularly advises large and emerging business clients, non-profit organizations, private equity funds, sovereign wealth funds and, more recently, various market participants in fintech and money transmitter matters, including new payment systems and lending platforms.

Jonathan D. Joseph, the Firm’s CEO, stated, “I am thrilled Jim Olson is teaming up with Joseph & Cohen and myself personally after we practiced together at Pillsbury Madison & Sutro in the 1990s and been friends for three decades. Among other things, we co-founded Pillsbury’s New York office in 1995 where we advised the then largest securities firm on the globe, helping them create the world’s first commercial loan securitization market.”

Mr. Joseph added “Jim and I have over 80 years of combined expertise in the financial services, bank regulatory and corporate marketplace and, along with our other Firm colleagues, we are even better equipped now to provide legal services equal to any AmLaw 100 or boutique firm.”

Mr. Olson added, “I am excited to join Joseph & Cohen and reunite with Jon Joseph, who I’ve admired as a colleague and respected as a leading corporate and banking lawyer.  This is a wonderful opportunity and I look forward to working with the Firm’s exceptional group of attorneys.”

Mr. Olson comes to Joseph & Cohen after a long tenure as a Partner and Of Counsel at Jones Day, one of the largest law firms in the world. There, he advised clients in the banking, technology, solar and agribusiness sectors. His representative clients included Apple, IBM, Sunpower, PCM, LinkedIn, Wells Fargo, Toyota and ICANN.

Mr. Olson has also long been active in the non-profit world having been a director and legal counsel to the United Way Bay Area for over 20 years. Most recently, he was the Vice Chair of the United Way Board.  For the last 10 years, Olson has been on the Board and is now Board Chair of HomeBase, The Center for Common Concerns, in San Francisco, which is a national nonprofit working at the state and national level to support communities in responding to homelessness through a team of 50 public policy lawyers and analysts.

Prior to his tenure at Jones Day, Mr. Olson was a Partner at Heller Ehrman, LLP, where he held various leadership positions, including Co-Chair of the Corporate Finance and Financial Services Groups and Co-Chair of the San Francisco Business Department, and represented clients in financing, M&A and cross border matters. He worked with clients in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East and was a leader in developing and expanding their Asian practice.

Mr. Olson was also a Partner at Pillsbury Madison & Sutro (Now Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP) in the San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles offices. There he headed the financial institutions and banking practice.

Joseph & Cohen, Professional Corporation, is a Financial Services and Litigation Boutique headquartered in San Francisco and emphasizes complex banking, credit union, corporate, private equity and financial services matters, regulatory and bank enforcement defense, private equity, employment and commercial litigation services.  Joseph & Cohen is known for sophisticated expertise, extraordinary commitment to clients, relationship-based services, and a range of specialized skills typically found only in the largest American law firms.

For additional information about Joseph & Cohen, Professional Corporation, please visit our website at http://www.josephandcohen.com.

Press Contact:  Jonathan Joseph at Joseph & Cohen, 415-817-9250 or jon@josephandcohen.com.

Apr

9

2018

Jonathan Joseph Interviewed by CBS 5 KPIX-TV Concerning SFMTA Taxi Medallion Lawsuit Filed by Joseph & Cohen

San Francisco, CA — On Tuesday, March 27th, Joseph & Cohen filed a lawsuit in the San Francisco Superior Court against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) on behalf of San Francisco Federal Credit Union (SFFCU), seeking $28 million in compensatory damages arising from defaulted taxi medallion loans and the SFMTA breaches and failures in connection with the transferable taxi medallion market in San Francisco.

Jonathan D. Joseph, Joseph & Cohen’s Founder and Managing Partner, recently spoke to Wilson Walker of KPIX-TV CBS 5 in an exclusive interview about the significance of the lawsuit.

Below is a link to the interview, which aired on March 28th:
Credit Union Sues San Francisco Over Taxi Driver Loans

 

Apr

9

2018

Joseph & Cohen Files Suit Against SFMTA for San Francisco Federal Credit Union Over Taxi Medallion Meltdown

San Francisco, CA — On March 27, 2018, Joseph & Cohen, Professional Corporation, filed a lawsuit in the San Francisco Superior Court on behalf of San Francisco Federal Credit Union (the “Credit Union” or “SFFCU”) against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (“SFMTA”), seeking $28 million in compensatory damages from defaulted taxi medallion loans.

As alleged in the complaint, in 2010, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom was facing a large budget shortfall and instructed the SFMTA to monetize the City’s taxi medallions. The price was subsequently set at $250,000 each. Taxi medallions are city-issued permits that authorize taxi drivers to operate a taxi in San Francisco. Until 2010, medallions were free and were awarded to taxi drivers based on seniority. While drivers often had to wait 10 to 15 years to receive their medallion, the free medallions permitted drivers to earn a good livelihood. A medallion holder could also rent it out to other licensed taxi drivers to earn passive income when they weren’t driving. This meant that drivers could live in or around San Francisco and raise families with their earnings.

The SFMTA was aware that monetizing and selling “transferable” medallions to drivers for $250,000 was a steep price, so they marketed the medallions as “investments” that could be resold in a marketplace created and managed by the SFMTA. In search of a solution to enable drivers to finance their purchases, the SFMTA asked SFFCU to partner with it to offer affordable loans to help drivers pay for the medallions. Based on significant assurances, City regulations, and promises in written contracts between the Credit Union and the SFMTA, SFFCU agreed to provide reduced rate loans to the drivers since City officials had agreed they would ensure the viability of the medallion market.

The City sold or retransferred approximately 700 medallions resulting in revenues of over $63 million. But once San Francisco allowed Uber and Lyft to operate in San Francisco without subjecting them to enforcement, safety and other reasonable regulations thousands of Uber and Lyft cars poured into the City. City officials claimed they were unable to regulate Uber and Lyft based on the CPUC’s statewide regulations, but this isn’t accurate. As alleged in the complaint, the City has the legal authority under California law to regulate Uber and Lyft on a side-by-side basis with CPUC rules. Despite having a contractual obligation to take any steps necessary to protect their own transferable medallion market, the City and the SFMTA failed to take meaningful actions to protect the medallion market, the taxi drivers and the Credit Union.

As Uber and Lyft grew, taxi earnings fell precipitously and many non-medallion owning drivers left the industry.  Some began driving for Uber and Lyft since all they needed to do was download an app to sign up. These days, after expenses, a medallion owner may be lucky to earn $50 during a ten-hour shift.  Medallion owners started struggling to make loan payments and around one hundred drivers have defaulted. By early 2017, due to the SFMTA’s failure to uphold its stated mission to “promote a vibrant taxi industry through intelligent regulation, enforcement and partnership,” the medallion market had completely failed and the hard-working taxi drivers and Credit Union were left holding toxic assets.

The Credit Union’s lawsuit claims, among other things, the SFMTA failed to satisfy its promises under written contracts with the Credit Union and the San Francisco Transportation Code, misled the Credit Union and reneged on its promise to repurchase the medallions as outlined in the complaint, which is available at the link below. The lawsuit states causes of action for breach of contract, breach of mandatory duties under the San Francisco Transportation Code, breach of the implied warranty of good faith and fair dealing, breach of fiduciary duty and negligent misrepresentation.

Since inception of the Credit Union’s agreement to provide financing for the SFMTA’s program, SFFCU ended up originating $125 million in medallion loans for more than 700 medallion purchases. Now, as result of the City’s failures, it has had to foreclose on 99 medallions while over four hundred other drivers seek to surrender their medallions. As a remedy, among other things, the lawsuit seeks compensatory damages of $28 million.

To learn more, click here to read the lawsuit filed by Joseph & Cohen.