Claire-Lise Y. Kutlay
Ms. Kutlay consistently provides outstanding representation to both plaintiffs and defendants in groundbreaking matters. She is routinely retained by companies and high-level executives to handle their most important matters, serving as lead counsel at trial and arbitration. Ms. Kutlay represents clients in a wide range of areas of law, including employment, fraud, business torts, defamation, real estate, contracts, business partnership disputes, misappropriation of trade secrets, and trust and estates. Ms. Kutlay’s exceptional skills are consistently recognized by her peers, and she has been recognized as a Southern California Super Lawyer Rising Star in each year since 2020. In 2018, two of her trial verdicts were listed as among the Top Plaintiff and Defense Verdicts of the Year in California.
On the defense side, Ms. Kutlay recently served as sole counsel in an arbitration seeking $12.5 million in damages against her client for alleged fraud, bribery, and breach of contract. Over the course of a multi-day arbitration, Ms. Kutlay established that her client had done nothing wrong and obtained a complete victory for her client. Ms. Kutlay was also an integral part of the trial team for her client, an AmLaw 200 firm, in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit brought by the heirs to the Alta-Dena Dairy fortune. The case included a RICO claim that would have resulted in treble damages and an award of attorney fees. Ms. Kutlay’s role included cross-examining one of the heirs’ key witnesses at trial. After a contentious, two-month trial that was extensively covered by the Daily Journal, the jury returned a complete defense verdict for the client, rejecting all of the plaintiffs’ claims.
On the plaintiff side, Ms. Kutlay has successfully handled numerous high-profile whistleblower retaliation, wrongful termination, and employment discrimination actions. Ms. Kutlay was one of the lead lawyers in a high-profile whistleblower retaliation case against the Montebello Unified School District. After a two-week trial, her team obtained a $2.75 million jury verdict and a multi-million dollar attorney fee award for the client. The verdict was one of the largest single-plaintiff whistleblower retaliation verdicts in California history, and was recognized by the Daily Journal as one of the top plaintiff verdicts of 2018.
Ms. Kutlay received her law degree at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. She received her undergraduate degree in commerce at the University of Victoria. Prior to law school, Ms. Kutlay worked as a behavioral safety trainer in the United Arab Emirates.
- Served as sole counsel on behalf of a not-for-profit corporation in an arbitration seeking $12.5 million in damages for alleged fraud, bribery, and breach of contract. After a multi-day arbitration, established the not-for-profit corporation had engaged in no wrongdoing and obtained an award entirely in its favor.
- Represented celebrity and highly sought-after real estate professional in Los Angeles Superior Court in a complex case involving allegations of misappropriation of trade secrets, defamation, breach of contract, and violation of various wage-and-hour provisions. After replacing prior counsel, defeated multiple dispositive motions and obtained favorable settlement.
- Served as sole counsel on behalf of a top executive in a personal matter to address a multi-year campaign of harassment by a neighbor couple. After a ten-day bench trial, obtained complete relief for the client, defeated counterclaims, and obtained a six-figure attorney fee award.
- Served as co-lead counsel for a city in a high-profile employment discrimination case filed in federal court by two senior attorneys who alleged age discrimination. Successfully obtained dismissal of the case for lack of federal jurisdiction. After the plaintiffs then refiled their case in Orange County Superior Court, successfully obtained a favorable settlement.
- Represented former equity shareholder of AmLaw 100 law firm Ogletree Deakins in a high-profile lawsuit against the firm and its senior management, which was described by the Daily Journal as “groundbreaking.” After replacing prior counsel, defeated dispositive motions, both in an arbitration forum and in San Diego Superior Court.
- Obtained defense jury verdict for defendant AmLaw 200 firm in case seeking $500 million in damages for violation of civil RICO, fraud, and other torts. The verdict was recognized by the Daily Journal as one of the top defense verdicts of 2018.
- Obtained a seven-figure jury verdict for plaintiff in a whistleblower/wrongful termination lawsuit and a multi-million-dollar attorney fee award. The verdict was recognized by the Daily Journal as one of the top plaintiff verdicts of 2018.
- Second-chaired trial and obtained seven-figure jury verdict for plaintiff in a reformation of contract case.
- Represented SpaceX employees in trade secrets misappropriation litigation against Broadcom Corporation.
Awards & Recognition
- Southern California Super Lawyer Rising Star, 2020-2023
- Top Plaintiff Verdict of 2018, Daily Journal
- Top Defense Verdict of 2018, Daily Journal
- Pro Bono Achievement Award 2013, 2015
- Wiley W. Manuel Pro Bono Services Certificate, 2015
Professional & Community Activities
- Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association (serving on the Board of the Barristers Section)
- Member, Orange County Bar Association
- Member, Women Lawyer’s Association of Los Angeles
- Member, Arab American Lawyers Association of Southern California
Los Angeles Lawyer | May 2022 |
Conducting and Documenting Proper Evidence Collections
Los Angeles Lawyer | April 2020 |
Child Sexual Assault Survivor Alexandra Zarini Denounces Allegations in Legal Response Filed by Patricia Gucci
May 2021 |
Childhood Sexual Abuse Case Filed Against Santa Ana Unified School District
News | September 17, 2020 |
Child Sexual Assault Lawsuit Filed Against UCLA and Conrad Mainwaring
September 2020 |
Great-Granddaughter of Gucci Founder Files Child Sexual Assault Lawsuit Against Stepfather, Mother and Grandmother
September 2020 |
Greenberg Gross Files Lawsuit Against Optimal Christian Academy and School Administrator
May 2020 |