Brand Cooper


Brand Cooper was admitted to the bar, 1975, California, United States District Court, Southern District and Central District of California, and United States District Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.  Education: University of Southern California (B.S., 1971); Loyola University (J.D., magna cum laude, 1975).  Member, Loyola University Law Review, 1974 -1975.  Author:  “Civil Conspiracy & Interference with Contractual Relations.”  8 Loyola Law Review 312 (quoted with approval by the California Supreme Court in Applied Equipment v. Litton Saudi Arabia (1994) 7 Cal. 4th 503 [28 Cal. Rptr. 475]).


Mr. Cooper has spent much of his career handling contractual disputes and/ or giving advice on contractual interpretation. Contractual disputes include litigation over partnership agreements, lease agreements, software license agreements, literary and publishing agreements.  He also has had substantial experience in insurance coverage involving insurance policies of every nature, bad faith litigation and fee dispute litigation arising out of said contracts. This work involves the analysis and litigation of contractual provisions which includes providing opinions on contractual interpretation under case law as applied to different factual scenarios and litigating the interpretation of contractual provisions. 


Mr. Cooper has developed extensive experience in the area of professional fee review and analysis which has garnered him a nationwide reputation as an expert in this area.  Mr. Cooper has for over 25 years represented clients (including lawyers) in disputes over legal representation and charges associated therewith. He litigates, arbitrates and mediates such disputes.   Mr. Cooper assists clients in contemporaneous and retrospective reviews of legal billings to insure that the legal billings are reasonable, appropriate and necessary and comply with billing guidelines and reasonableness standards.


In addition, often disputes arise over the reasonableness and scope of legal charges and the obligations of clients to fund all or a portion of legal charges associated with litigation. Allocations of legal charges are often performed by Mr. Cooper and his team to determine the proper scope of defense obligations.  Mr. Cooper has also been asked by his clients to determine the reasonable value of legal services both in support of lawyers' claims and in opposition to lawyers' claims.


Mr. Cooper has provided expert testimony on fee dispute and legal malpractice matters in excess of 85 occasions in State and Federal Courts, and in arbitrations.  The firm has also represented a variety of governmental entities (including the cities of Los Angeles, Pasadena, Glendale and Riverside) in tort, contract and fee dispute matters.


In addition to the foregoing, Mr. Cooper has represented and continues to represent individuals and electrical energy generators in the electrical utility industry in litigation concerning the California Power crisis of 2000 and 2001.  This litigation includes the responsibilities of the California Power Exchange to comply with tariff provisions in the relaxation of creditworthiness standards for purchasers of electricity and the ability of public utility purchasers of electricity to sue municipal sellers for overcharges in the Independent System Operators market. 


Mr. Cooper has also handled numerous intellectual property, trademark and copyright infringement matters including the landmark decision of Comedy III v. Saderup, (2002) 25 Cal. 4th 387, [106 Cal. Rptr. 2d 126], involving the right of publicity and the California Supreme Court’s new standard for determining when the Constitution protects a person’s right to expression in the area of portraits of famous persons.


Robert M. Bruning                                                                            
Robert Bruning was licensed to practice law on December 21, 1977. Also admitted to practice in United States District Court, Eastern and Central Districts and the United States District Court of Appeal, Ninth CIrcuit. Education: University of Southern California (B.A. 1974); Southwestern School of Law (Juris. Doctorate 1977). Legal Intern for Second DIstrict Court of Appeal Justice Thaxton Hanson.  


From 1979 to 1998 Mr. Bruning practiced in his own firm as a partner with Peter Lichtman (currently Los Angeles Superior Court Judge - complex litigation) and on his own. Mr. Bruning's career has focused on a wide range of business litigation matters including contract dispute litigation, contract draftsmanship, attorney partnership disputes, real estate litigation, legal malpractice, insurance coverage and insurance contract interpretation and attorney fee dispute resolution. He is currently representing municipalities in electrical utility litigation involving the California energy crisis.


In connection with his fee dispute practice, he has reviewed and analyzed hundreds of litigation matters involving mass disasters, class actions and multi-district litigation throughout the United States. Mr. Bruning collaborates as a team member with Mr. Cooper on most of the firm's expert analyses and opinions regarding the performance and charges of lawyers. Mr. Bruning often performs allocations of legal billings in accordance with the scope of contractual clauses, statutory provisions or the decision of Buss v. Superior Court in the insurance context.  Mr. Bruning's practice includes appellate work in both State and Federal Courts.