William A. Markham

William A. Markham

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Antitrust Litigation Attorney in San Diego, CA

Law Offices of William Markham, P.C.
 | 550 West C Street, Suite 2000
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619-221-4400
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2013 - 2017
Licensed Since: 1988
Education: Harvard Law School
Practice Areas:
  • Antitrust Litigation (40%),
  • Real Estate: Business (30%),
  • Business Litigation (30%)
Languages Spoken:
  • English,
  • French,
  • Spanish
Attorney Profile

William Markham is a graduate of Harvard Law School who has practiced law since 1988 after passing the California Bar Examination on his first attempt. After gaining broad, general experience in a full range of cases, he has narrowed his practice to certain kinds of complex litigation: Antitrust matters, trademark infringement matters, patent misuse matters, and certain other kinds of complex business litigation and complex real estate litigation.

Mr. Markham has obtained substantial verdicts in both jury and bench trials, doing so by developing a compelling characterization of the case at hand and organizing the evidence to show that the characterization is accurate, makes sense, best explains what really happened, and therefore entitles his client to the requested relief (damages or other relief for plaintiffs, or an exculpation for defendants). 

In particular, Mr. Markham has worked on antitrust matters since 1988 ever since working as as an associate attorney at Coudert Brothers (now dissolved), a firm that had offices around the world and represented sovereign governments, Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, universities, start-ups, large private companies, and others.  

In his own practice, Mr. Markham has recently served as the U.S. antitrust advisor to the world's largest manufacturer of LED panels, and he served as the lead attorney for Orchard Supply Hardware, LLC in its antitrust litigation against Home Depot and the two major suppliers of professional power tools as well as the lead attorney for the largest privately held precast concrete company in North America in a four-year antitrust litigation that it brought against AT&T and a subsidiary of the world's largest construction materials firm (three years of litigation in trial court, followed by an appeal before the Ninth Circuit).  

Mr. Markham has obtained successful outcomes in exceedingly complex, problematic antitrust litigations and has also coordinated antitrust amnesty arrangements with the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. In his antitrust work, he has represented businesses in the following lines of commerce: Telecommunications infrastructure; other kinds of utilities infrastructure; consumer electronics; petroleum and petrochemicals; medical supplies; medical services; marine infrastructure; clothing (retail price maintenance matters); hardware supplies; computer software; computer hardware; automobile dealerships; various kinds of franchises; and various other lines of commerce.  

Mr. Markham has significant experience litigating the following kinds of antitrust claims:   Rule-of-reason offenses, including private standard-setting matters; horizontal price-fixing; market allocation schemes; bid-rigging; group boycotts; tie-in arrangements; monopolization offenses; price-discrimination under the Robinson-Patman Act; merger and acquisition matters under the Clayton Act and Hart-Scott-Rodino Act; claims made under California's Cartwright Act, Unfair Practices Act, and Unfair Competition Law; DOJ-Antitrust criminal prosecutions and FTC regulatory matters; and ongoing, preventative consultation on a broad range of antitrust matters.

Mr. Markham has also significant experience litigating trademark infringment cases and served as the lead attorney for Dan-Dee Company, Inc. in the high-profile 5-Hour Energy counterfeiting case.  

Mr. Markham has also served as the lead attorney in high-profile condemnation cases by which government agencies have taken substantial commercial properties, and he was the lead attorney in the Pacific Avenue property case, which received prominent national attention several years ago because it arose under the surprising Kelo doctrine, which allows government entities to take property from one private owner and transfer it to a new private owner on the ground that the new owner will devote it to a use that better serves the public interest.

In addition, Mr. Markham is completely fluent in French and reasonably fluent in Spanish.

He is also the author of a well-received series of articles on various topics of the law, which appear at http://www.markhamlawfirm.com/law-articles/.  He has also served as an MCLE lecturer on antitrust law and on the foreclosure laws of California, and for a time he served on the Lawyer Referral Committee of the San Diego Bar Association, where he helped to write the new standards for admitting attorneys to various lawyer referral panels. He has also served as a mock judge in the annual University of San Diego mock trial competition. In addition, he has served as an adjunct professor of law at Hastings Law School and Lincoln Law School.

Mr. Markham has often appeared in various national news media, including The NY Times, CNN, the San Diego affiliates of NBC and Univision, The Los Angeles Times, Entrepreneur Magazine, and other well-recognized, popular news media.

Above all, Mr. Markham and his team make an enormous effort to master their cases and present them at trial with skill and care. You can read more about him and his firm at www.markhamlawfirm.com

About William Markham

Admitted: 1988, California

Professional Webpage: http://www.markhamlawfirm.com/attorneys/william-markham/

Honors and Awards:

  • Mr. Markham has received substantial recognition from his peers as a leading litigator of complex business disputes and real estate matters.  He has been given the highest possible rating of 10.0 by Avvo, the online attorney rating service.  In the annual poll of San Diego attorneys conducted by The San Diego Daily Transcript, he has repeatedly been a semi-finalist for “best business litigator” (2006, 2007, 2011 and 2012) and also for “best real estate litigator” (2010). He also has been recognized as one San Diego’s “best real estate attorneys” in San Diego Metro Magazine (2011 and 2012). In addition, Mr. Markham has served on the LRIS Committee of the San Diego County Bar Association, which sets attorney referral standards and provides the general public with referrals to qualified attorneys who practice law in San Diego County, and in this capacity he helped to establish new LRIS standards for key lawyer-referral panels.  He has also served as a judge in the Moot Court Honors Competition of San Diego University Law School. While at Harvard Law School, Mr. Markham served as an editor and later as an associate editor of The Harvard International Law Journal.  After law school, he passed the California Bar exam on his first attempt and was admitted by petition to the DC Bar Association because of his qualifying high score on the California Bar exam.  He enjoyed a short sabbatical from his work during part of 2001.

Scholarly Lectures and Writings:

Verdicts and Settlements:

  • Antitrust Counsel to Global Automobile Manufacturer. In 2015 and again in 2016, Mr. Markham provided antitrust counseling to a global automobile manufacturer concerning its multinational acquisitions and divestitures., 2015
  • Antitrust Counsel to World’s Largest Manufacturer of LED Products. Since 2013, Mr. Markham has served as the United States antitrust adviser to the world’s largest manufacturer of LED products in various strategic matters for the company. Among other things, Mr. Markham acted as its lead negotiator on antitrust issues during its master contract negotiations with its largest customer, a global electronics firm, and he also served as its antitrust advisor on United States antitrust law during its master contract negotiations with a major distributor of its products in North American and Europe., 2013
  • Antitrust Litigation and Settlement: Mr. Markham obtained a highly favorable settlement for a major, publicly-traded retailer that alleged that its rival had coordinated a group boycott and employed false advertising in order to undermine its operations shortly after it had developed an innovative manner of making its retail sales during changing times., 2013
  • Antitrust Litigation and Settlement. Mr. Markham obtained a highly favorable settlement for a distributor of medical devices that challenged certain dealer restraints practiced by the predominant manufacturers of these devices and their preferred distributor. The manufacturers ceased to sell the devices to Mr. Markham's client because it had made sales in violation of their dealer restraints. By the settlement, they resumed making sales to this distributor, made exceptions to their challenged dealer restraints, and paid a substantial settlement., 2012
  • Prevailing Party in Substantial Securities Fraud Case (Prove-Up Judgments Granted Upon Substantial Submission and Comprehensive Showing). In a substantial case of securities fraud, Mr. Markham represented fifteen plaintiffs and obtained judgments on their behalf against seven defendants for a total amount of $968,928.00 after the principal defendants defaulted. These defendants vigorously opposed Mr. Markham until it became obvious that they would lose on the merits, after which they defaulted. By these judgments, which were obtained upon a substantial prove-up submission, Mr. Markham’s clients obtained the right to full recovery of all of the money that the defendants had obtained from them by their fraudulent promotion and sale of securities in violation of the California Corporations Code and various common-law doctrines. The judgments that Mr. Markham obtained constitute an unqualified victory for the firm’s clients in a very complex case of highly sophisticated securities fraud. The principal challenge in this matter was to investigate and uncover the fraud and to untangle a mystifying, confusing set of facts in order to give a clear, convincing explanation of the matter to a skeptical trial court. In the end, the trial court was fully satisfied and granted 100% of Mr. Markham’s request, issuing the above judgments in order to redress Defendants’ complicated scheme to defraud many victims over a period of several years. Mr. Markham received helpful assistance in this case from his former partner and colleague Antonio Maldonado. Case Name:  Ngo et al. v. Nguyen et al. (LA Cty. Sup. Ct., Case No. BC418361)., 2011
  • Antitrust Litigation: Resolution of Standards-Setting Matter.  In this case, Mr. Markham collaborated with others to persuade a prominent national standards-setting agency, the American Society for Testing and Materials, to revise two of its private standards for certain kinds of construction materials. The revised standards allow the inclusion of an entire category of products made by Mr. Markham’s client.  In this matter, Mr. Markham alleged that certain “interested” members of the standard-setting agency had deceived the agency into adopting standards that improperly excluded the category of products made by Mr. Markham’s client and others. These members did so in order to exclude the unwelcome competition posed by this line of products. Mr. Markham alleged that the conduct constituted an impermissible restraint of trade in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, and he asserted corresponding claims against the offending members, as well as related claims against the standards-setting agency itself for failing to enforce its own procedures properly. In this matter, Mr. Markham interacted with a national trade association that supported his client’s position. The result constituted an unqualified success for Mr. Markham’s client and all other similarly situated manufacturers., 2009
  • Jury Trial and Bench Trial in Case for Commercial Fraud, Ensued by a Trial in Bankruptcy Court. In one matter, Mr. Markham litigated claims for commercial fraud and breach of contract in California state court, obtaining (1) jury verdicts for three different kinds of civil fraud against an individual, (2) a jury verdict for breach of contract against his corporation, and (3) a bench verdict that decreed the individual personally liable for the corporation's liability, which included attorney's fees and costs. On appeal, these judgments were affirmed in all respects, and Mr. Markham obtained a reversal of the trial court's dismissal of a second individual defendant on the pleadings. The first individual defendant subsequently sought to have his liability under the judgment discharged in bankruptcy, which led to a new trial in an adversary proceeding in the bankruptcy case. In the new trial, Mr. Markham obtained a decree of non-dischargeability against the indidivual. There ensued further bankruptcy litigation over the individual's plan of reorganization, which ultimately culminated in a confidential settlement. In this long-running judicial saga, Mr. Markham eventually obtained a new, superseding bankruptcy judgment, issued after a three-day bench trial (adversary proceeding), which established the nondischargeability of the first individual defendant’s liability to Mr. Markham’s client and also confirmed the amount of this liability after the partial enforcement and partial settlement. Mr. Markham subsequently received leave from the bankruptcy court to record an abstract of the new federal judgment against the first individual’s property. The amount of the final, nondischargeable bankruptcy judgment was $639,877.53. Before the banktruptcy, Mr. Markham collected approximately $186,000 for his client. After collecting these funds and obtaining the nondischargeable judgment, the parties concluded and performed a confidential settlement agreement. Regrettably, the principal defendant’s apparent strategy was to oppose Mr. Markham’s client so relentlessly that she would cease to seek relief and acquiesce in his commercial fraud, but Mr. Markham’s client became resolved not to permit this strategy to succeed. The defendant’s preferred strategy was unfortunate for everyone concerned, and it did not succeed. Mr. Markham’s client prevailed in each of the above proceedings. Case Name: Collins v. Defendant’s Name Redacted  (Cal. Superior Ct., S.D. Cty., Case No. GIC 880706; Fourth Appellate District of California, Docket Nos. D056865 and D057757; and United States Bankruptcy Ct., S.D. Cal. Adversary No. 14-90037)., 2009
  • Successful Follow-Up Vindication of Commercial Tenant’s Rights. The commercial landlord in the above case brought another action against the same commercial tenants after losing the above-listed case on all grounds (even so, the landlord was able to obtain limited relief on appeal from the above case, as is explained above). After five months of arduous litigation, the landlord abruptly dropped the case, doing so one day before its representative had been ordered to answer further deposition questions about its motive for bringing the lawsuit.  Case Name: Joseph Quin Family Trust v. Image 2000 Multimedia, Inc. (S.D. County, Case No. 37 2008 00102257 CU-UD-EC)., 2008
  • Bench Trial of Substantial Commercial Tenancy Claims. In a bench trial, which was conducted in 2008, the trial court ruled in favor of Mr. Markham's clients in a commercial tenancy dispute, giving them judgment on their claims and giving them judgment as well on the other side's cross-claims.   Mr. Markham's clients were commercial tenants who wished to renew their lease for five additional years under an option to renew set forth in the lease.  Their landlord refused to accept their exercise of the option, urging various grounds.  The trial court interpreted the disputed option provision, finding that Mr. Markham's clients were entitled to exercise it and had properly done so.  The court also found in favor of Mr. Markham's clients in a related insurance dispute, interpreting the lease provisions on insurance in their favor.  The landlord has appealed from this decision.  Case name:  Image 2000 Multimedia, Inc. v. Joseph Quin Family Trust (S.D. County, Case No. 37-2007-00062035-CU-BC-EC).This same landlord brought another action against these commercial tenants in early 2009.  After five months of arduous litigation, the landlord dropped the case one day before she was ordered to return for further deposition questions concerning her motive for bringing the lawsuit.  The name of this case was Joseph Quin Family Trust v. Image 2000 Multimedia, Inc. (S.D. County, Case No. 37-2008-00102257-CU-UD-EC)., 2008
  • Substantial Settlement in Disputed Partnership/Trust Administration. In a confidential settlement agreement, Mr. Markham recovered approximately $10.4 million for a trust whose trustees had made improper transfers of substantial real estate interests.  This case was litigated as a probate proceeding in central California.  The terms of the final settlement were confidential, so that Mr. Markham cannot provide the particulars of this case., 2007
  • Antitrust Litigation: Lead Counsel in Major Litigation Over Telecommunications Infrastructure. Mr. Markham was lead counsel for the largest privately held manufacturer of precast concrete products in a substantial antitrust litigation litigated against the world's largest manufacturer of these products and a global telecommunications firm for three years in the Northern District of California, then appealed in the Ninth Circuit. Mr. Markham's claims largely survived pleadings litigation and wholly survived the defendants' first round of motions for summary judgment. The defendants also ceased to employ one of the challenged business practices almost immediately after the case was filed. The defendants ultimately prevailed on a second round of motions for summary judgment, and this decision was affirmed on appeal., 2006
  • Bench Trial of Disputed Property Rights. In a bench trial in which Mr. Markham represented the defendant, the trial court declined to grant the injunctive relief that the plaintiff sought.   The defendant was the prevailing party in this case. Case name: Rivet v. Dziensuwski (SD. Sup. Ct., Case No. DV 017311)., 2006
  • Bench Trial of Disputed Property Rights. In a bench trial in which Mr. Markham represented the defendants, the trial court refused to grant the requested injunctive relief to Plaintiff, a homeowners' assocation.  The trial court declined to find that there was a prevailing party in the case.  Case name:  Sweetwater Lakes Homeowners Association v. Kramer (Case No. GIE 029572)., 2006
  • Antitrust Litigation: Successful Coordination of Antitrust Amnesty. Mr. Markham successfully negotiated and concluded a comprehensive antitrust amnesty agreement between his client and the US Department of Justice, Antitrust Division. Under this agreement, Mr. Markham’s client was absolved of all responsibility in a matter that eventually led to criminal convictions and major civil settlements against all of the other participants in a conspiracy to fix prices and allocate markets by territory., 2005
  • Greatly Improved Settlement of Eminent Domain Purchase: Groundbreaking Case. In a complex, novel eminent domain proceeding, Mr. Markham represented the owner of commercial property that the City of Santa Cruz chose to condemn and take so that it could transfer ownership to a private developer.  This case was brought after the US Supreme Court ruled in the Kelo case that such takings were permissible upon a proper showing.  The condemnor's original offer was approximately $1.6 million, and its final stipulated award was worth approximately $3.0 million.  Case name:  City of Santa Cruz v. Lau (Santa Cruz Cty. Sup. Ct., Case No. CV 151983)., 2005
  • Greatly Improved Settlement of Eminent Domain Purchase. In a complex eminent domain proceeding, Mr. Markham represented a large polypropelene factory located in Alameda County.  The Oakland Unified School District condemned the property and made an initial offer of approximately $2.8 million.  After a substantial litigation, the condemnor agreed to pay approximately $4.4 million for its taking.  Case name:  Oakland Unified School District v. Cheng (Alameda Cty. Sup. Ct., Case No. 2002-051449)., 2004
  • Stipulated Judgment Made At Trial Call. In a complicated commercial dispute in which Mr. Markham represented a supplier of mailbags against a distributor of them, the distributor dropped its cross-claims and gave a stipulated judgment to Mr. Markham's client on the day of the trial call.  The stipulated judgment was for approximately $200,000, along with interest.  Case Name:  Tedcom International, Inc. v. Flamingo Industries, Inc. (Alameda Cty. Sup. Ct., 2000-074279)., 2003
  • Bench Trial of Contested Judicial Partition of Real Property. In a judicial partition that proceeded to a final evidentiary hearing, the trial court granted Mr. Markham's client substantially all of the relief that she had requested, which included a decree of partition, the entirety of all contested proceeds, a removal of various liens at the expense of the other party's interest in the property, and attorney's fees and costs.  The property was worth approximately $900,000 at the time of sale.  Case Name: Tamburo v. Lipari (SF. Sup. Ct., Case No. 312202)., 2002
  • Antitrust Litigation: Successful Defense In Criminal/Civil Matter. Mr. Markham successfully defended a manufacturer of polypropylene products against potential claims of price-fixing and horizontal market allocation brought under Section 1 of the Sherman Act. This supplier was initially designated a “target” in an ongoing criminal investigation undertaken by the Department  of Justice, Antitrust Division. Mr. Markham persuaded the DOJ to close its investigation without filing a complaint, and he persuaded would-be civil litigants not to seek relief against his client. In this case, Mr. Markham’s client obtained an unqualified and prompt release from any possible liability or obligation., 1994
  • Substantial Settlement of Claims for Insurer's Bad-Faith Denial of an Insurance Contract. Mr. Markham represented an insured who brought suit against his disability insurer for refusing in bad faith to honor the insurance contract.  The insurer's original offer was to pay nothing and waive costs.  The final settlement was for approximately $2.2 million.  This case was litigated in federal court under the ERISA statutes.  The settlement was confidential, so that Mr. Markham cannot provide further particulars about this matter., 1994
  • Antitrust Litigation:  Intellectual Property Disputes.  Early in his career Mr. Markham worked as an associate in the antitrust practice of a major international law firm (Coudert Brothers, now dissolved). During this period, he principally litigated claims and cross-claims under the Sherman Act in disputes that concerned (1) the alleged misuse of copyrights for computer software; and (2) competition among service-providers for the maintenance of computer hardware and other kinds of office equipment. Some of these cases were major, prominent antitrust cases that received significant national attention in the early 1990s., 1988

Educational Background:

  • Mr. Markham earned his law degree at Harvard Law School, receving his J.D. in 1987. , 1987
  • Mr. Markham obtained his college degree (bachelor of arts) with "Highest Honors" in 1984 from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  , 1984

Industry Groups

  • French-American Chamber Of Commerce (San Diego Chapter)
  • Office Location for William A. Markham

    550 West C Street
    Suite 2000
    San Diego, CA 92101

     

    William A. Markham:

    Last Updated: 6/1/2017

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