September 23, 2022

Munger Tolles’ $30 Million Victory for Estate Named Top Verdict of the Week


The Daily Journal has recognized Munger Tolles’ $30 million arbitration award, including punitive damages, on behalf of the sister and estate of a physician and businesswoman, who was victim of a massive real estate fraud, as a Top Verdict of the Week.

Last week, the Los Angeles Superior Court issued a judgment confirming the award, which called out a scheme to deprive our client of the proceeds from a $45 million sale of a 32-acre parcel in the heart of downtown Rancho Cucamonga .

Munger Tolles filed a lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages from a former business partner of Dr. Etsuko Toguri, a successful self-made business woman and physician based in Canada, who passed in 2019. 

Dr. Toguri began partnering on real estate investments with the family of Osvaldo Pierotti in the 1960s, and in 1977 they purchased the parcel of vacant land in Rancho Cucamonga – now the major mixed-use community Day Creek Square– for $166,000. 

Unbeknownst to Dr. Toguri, in 2017, the Pierotti family sold that lot to a Fortune 500 developer for $45 million—without Dr. Toguri’s consent, and without paying her a single penny. 

Neither Dr. Toguri, who started developing Alzheimer’s disease in the mid-2000s, nor any of her representatives were made aware of the true details of the Rancho Cucamonga land deal.  

The fraud was not uncovered until Dr. Toguri’s sister hired Munger Tolles, as well as co-counsel James Klein at Klein & Ass., P.C.,to obtain an accounting of her sister’s investment in this property.

The Munger Tolles team was led by Laura Smolowe and included Jordan Segall, Sara Worth and Caroline Litten.

To read the Daily Journal’s coverage of the case, click here.

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