Placentia Development Company’s $37 Million Win Jury Verdict


Simpson Thacher represented Placentia Development Company, an affiliate of Toll Brothers, Inc. before the California Superior Court, Orange County.

In 2014, Toll Brothers acquired Placentia Development Company, which owned a 20-acre parcel of land in the City of Placentia, California, in connection with Toll Brothers’ acquisition of Shapell Industries. At the time of the acquisition, Defendant Bridgemark Corporation operated an active oil field on the parcel, but was required under a 2000 contract to cease oil drilling operations in certain circumstances to allow for the development of homes. Bridgemark refused to stop its oil operations, and Placentia Development Company sued in 2016.

After hearing testimony from 20 witnesses, on August 6 the jury found for Placentia Development Company on all three of its claims for breach of contract, trespass and public nuisance, awarding plaintiff $27 million in compensatory damages, and finding that Bridgemark Corporation acted with malice. And then on August 20, following the punitive damages phase of the trial, the jury returned a $10 million punitive damages verdict.

The Simpson Thacher team consisted of Los Angeles Litigation Partner Michael Kibler (Picture) and Litigation Associates Justin Raymond and Danielle Hesse.

Involved fees earner: Danielle Hesse – Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Michael Kibler – Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Justin Raymond – Simpson Thacher & Bartlett;

Law Firms: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett;

Clients: Placentia Development Company;

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Author: Ambrogio Visconti