Ned Gelhaar
  • UC Davis School of Law, J.D., 1992
  • University of California, Davis, B.A., cum laudePhi Beta Kappa, 1987
  • California
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Eastern, Southern, and Central Districts of California
  • Third, Ninth and Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal
  • U.S. Supreme Court
Ned Gelhaar


Ned Gelhaar has advised clients and litigated cases for nearly 30 years in matters relating to employee mobility, commercial disputes, intellectual property, corporate and partnership disputes, insurance coverage, and appeals and writs. He has taught trial skills to lawyers and law students as a faculty member with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) and as an adjunct professor at the University of California at Davis School of Law. He is a member of the New York City, Philadelphia, and Montgomery County Bar Associations and the American Intellectual Property Law Association. Ned was formerly a shareholder in Boutin Dentino (now Boutin Jones) in Sacramento and Senior Counsel with Hancock, Rothert & Bunshoft (now DuaneMorris) in Los Angeles.

Representative Matters

Employee Mobility Matters
Ned has represented both employers and employees in dozens of disputes arising from employees’ departure from their prior employment, and has tried cases to verdict for clients on both sides of the employer/employee divide. Ned draws from his experience litigating and trying such cases to guide clients through the complex thicket of issues relating to an employee’s decision to depart, their planning before doing so, and their competitive conduct in their business or employment after they leave. He also advises employers in their efforts to protect against improper conduct and competition by former employees.

  • Defended a Certified Financial Planner who was sued by her former employer for breaching a covenant not to compete and for trade secret misappropriation. Ned and his team defeated the employer’s motion for temporary restraining order and ultimately reached a settlement where the departing planner paid nothing, and the former employer paid the departing employee for a release of her counterclaims.
  • Defended a departing Certified Financial Planner who was sued by his former employer for breaching a covenant not to compete, trade secret misappropriation, and related claims. After a temporary restraining order was entered against the departing employee while represented by prior counsel, the firm defeated the former employer’s motion for preliminary injunction based on a novel application of California Business & Professions Code Section 16600 et seq., invalidating the claimed covenant not to compete. 
  • Defended a group of departing mechanical and electrical engineers and their new employer who were sued by the engineers’ former employer for breach of contract, trade secret misappropriation, and related claims. Following an eight-week bench trial, the departing employees won a defense judgment and an attorney’s fees award of nearly $1,000,000. The attorney’s fee award was affirmed on appeal in International Billing Services, Inc. v. North American Capital, LLC , 87 Cal.App.4th 1175 (2000).

Intellectual Property Matters
Ned has extensive experience in all aspects of intellectual property litigation, including disputes relating to: trademark infringement, dilution, and ownership/licensing; trademark “reverse” infringement; trade dress infringement and unfair competition; copyright infringement, ownership, and licensing; patent ownership and infringement; trade secret misappropriation; and violation of the right of publicity and trade name rights. Ned has litigated IP cases through trial and appeal in state and federal courts, and has litigated actions before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. He advises clients on IP-related matters, and in conjunction with colleagues within and outside the firm assists in the registration and prosecution of IP rights. 

  • Represented a consumer products manufacturer through litigation and a two-week jury trial in a trade dress infringement/unfair competition case involving consumer products and packaging in which the jury awarded $13,580,000 in actual and punitive damages.
  • Represented a construction materials manufacturer through litigation and a four-week jury trial in a trade secret and business tort case involving a construction materials recycling process in which Ned argued a final post-trial motion disposing of a $350,000,000 cross-complaint for slander of title to a patent.
  • Represented a specialized provider of services to the insurance industry in a trademark “reverse infringement” case against a global insurance business leading to a settlement sufficient to cover his client’s losses and the cost of rebranding.

Commercial Disputes
Ned has represented clients in business disputes ranging from straightforward breach of contract to antitrust and RICO claims.

  • Represented one of the insurance company defendants in an antitrust and civil RICO case involving challenges to insurance industry claims-handling practices.
  • Represented a remanufacturer through litigation and two weeks of a jury trial leading to settlement in a patent infringement, copyright infringement, antitrust, and business tort case involving the application of the “first sale doctrine” to the remanufactured laser toner cartridge industry.
  • Represented investors through litigation and an eight-week bench trial in an investment fraud and breach of fiduciary duty case resulting in a judgement for full recovery of the investors’ losses and attorney’s fees.

Corporate and Partnership Disputes
Ned has advocated for shareholders and partners in direct and derivative actions seeking damages for malfeasance by the entities’ constituents, control of entities that can continue, and division of the assets and liabilities when they cannot.

  • Pursued and resolved derivative and direct business tort claims in a “corporate divorce” case involving a closely held construction company. Following a petition for writ of mandamus, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s denial of a motion to disqualify opposing counsel in M’Guinness v. Johnson, 243 Cal. App. 4th 602 (2015), and the case was ultimately settled.
  • Represented the plaintiffs through a four-week jury trial and on appeal in a partnership dissolution/business fraud case involving a kiwi farm which resulted in judgement for full recovery for the plaintiffs and punitive damages which was affirmed on appeal.
  • Represented a law firm through litigation and arbitration against a departing partner for breach of his partnership agreement and related claims resulting in an arbitration award for the firm.

Insurance Coverage Matters
Ned advises clients and seeks coverage for claims against them under their business insurance policies, including CGL, Directors and Officers Liability, and Errors and Omissions policies. Ned presses for coverage of business tort claims against his clients and has obtained partial or full defense of such claims where the insurer initially refused such coverage.

  • Represented individual policyholder and successfully advocated with insurer on his behalf for acceptance of a “policy limits demand” in a personal injury case against the policyholder, protecting him from a potential judgement that could have exceeded his coverage limits.
  • Represented corporate policyholder and obtained partial defense cost reimbursement coverage under a Directors and Officers Liability Policy based on allegations of potentially damaging statements made by a corporate officer where no claim was alleged in the complaint based on the statements.
  • Represented insurer in aspects of major coverage dispute relating to environmental damage to a public port, and separately represented policyholder in coverage and contribution action relating to environmental damage at a shopping center.

Appeals and Writs
Ned has experience in appellate and writ proceedings in state and federal court, including obtaining precedential victories for his clients in M’Guinness v. Johnson, 243 Cal. App. 4th 602 (2015) (involving application of attorney conflict of interest rules) and International Billing Services, Inc. v. North American Capital, LLC , 87 Cal.App.4th 1175 (2000) (involving recovery of attorney’s fees based on a contractual indemnification provision).

Marital and Intra-Family Abuse Litigation
In conjunction with the firm’s family law team, Ned has pursued recovery on behalf of clients who were injured by abuse committed against them by family members.

  • Pursued claims under California’s civil rights and battery laws on behalf of a wife against her former husband based on decades of non-consensual sex acts and other abusive conduct.
  • Advanced claims for breach of fiduciary duty on behalf of a husband against his former wife based on improper financial conduct during the marriage.
  • Litigated claims under California’s civil rights and battery laws on behalf of children against a parent based on decades of physical and mental abuse.