Leigh O. Curran is Senior Counsel at Lagerlof, LLP’s litigation department and concentrates her practice in business and financial services litigation.
She has represented publicly- and privately-held businesses and organizations, governmental and quasi-governmental entities, and individuals through all phases of the trial process in federal and state courts. She has represented mortgage loan originators, servicers, and property managers in mortgage, title, and negotiable instrument litigation, interpleader cases, and in receiverships.
Leigh was corporate counsel for a full-service mortgage banker that did business in 47 states. She counseled the company regarding litigation, forward and reverse mortgage loan origination and servicing, title matters, correspondent lending, leases, broker and mortgage loan originator compensation, branch openings, vendor contracts, and personnel matters. Before that, she was litigation counsel at the law firm of Bingham McCutchen, LLP, now Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where her practice included business, environmental, and intellectual property litigation, and where she represented entities including the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, McKesson Chemical Company, Inc., Conagra Foods, and Viewsonic Corporation.
Leigh received her Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School in 1994 and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California, graduating cum laude in 1990. She is admitted to practice before all federal and state courts in California, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth and Federal Circuits, and before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Leigh’s pro bono work includes working with Election Protection to obtain an election day temporary restraining order, and, ultimately, a permanent injunction prohibiting the Secretary of State of a crucial swing state from denying provisional ballots to eligible voters in violation of the Help America Vote Act. White v. Blackwell, 409 F. Supp. 2d 919, 920 (N.D. Ohio 2006).
Outside of work, Leigh enjoys traveling and is a passionate supporter of USC football.
Leigh’s representations include:
- Title Litigation: Prosecuting actions to clear wild deeds and encumbrances from title to REO properties and defending the owner from related counterclaims. In a case where a stranger to a loan agreement claimed priority over lender’s deed of trust pursuant to an unrecorded co-tenancy agreement, Leigh co-authored a brief that defeated the stranger’s petition for writ of supersedeas filed in the California Court of Appeal;
- Illegal Super-Priority Liens: Relying on a municipal ordinance, a California city and county mischaracterized civil penalties for nuisance abatements (up to $100,000 per violation per property) as abatement cost assessments and then placed the assessments on the secured tax rolls, thereby creating a super-priority lien. Leigh obtained a judicial declaration that the ordinance was void in violation of California law and a judgment of restitution of taxes that were illegally collected from a lender that acquired title through foreclosure. She also obtained a determination that the beneficiary had acted as a “private attorney general” that was entitled to recover of its attorneys’ fees;
- Negotiable instruments: Secured an emergency writ of attachment and injunction and ultimately recovered entire $500,000 misappropriated by bank customer as part of a scheme to defraud the IRS;
- Negotiable instruments: Obtained judgment and fee award for loan servicer against borrower who forged servicer’s endorsement on insurance checks totaling $430,000; settled with depository bank;
- Negotiable instruments: Obtained a favorable result for depository bank on claims and counterclaims arising out of a “Nigerian Check Scam,” where customer was induced by third party to deposit a check and wire funds overseas before learning that the check was fraudulent;
- Lender liability: Successfully moved for summary judgment of borrower’s claims against lender alleging forged loan documents, violations of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Financial Elder Abuse;
- Lender liability: Obtained order sustaining lender’s demurrer without leave to amend to borrowers’ complaint that alleged that lender induced them to enter into loan by furnishing a fraudulent property tax estimate;
- Lender liability (class action): Successfully moved to dismiss putative class action complaint alleging lender’s mishandling of impound escrow accounts;
- Lender liability (class action): Successfully moved for summary judgment of putative class action claims challenging the lender’s use of particular indices to calculate interest on adjustable rate loans;
- Civil procedure: Successfully enforced subpoena for documents against a third party and created still-cited precedent under New York law regarding service of process on entities (Ultradent Prods., Inc. v. Hayman, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18000 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 24, 2002));
- Member of trial team that obtained defense verdict for a group of water contractors in multi-billion dollar dispute over the method of crediting revenues derived from the Hyatt-Thermalito power facility. (Alameda County Flood Control & Water Conservation Dist. v. Department of Water Resources, 213 Cal. App. 4th 1163 (Cal. App. 3d Dist. 2013));
- Member of trial and appellate team that defended Conagra subsidiary against claims alleging that enforcement of a food process patent violated the Sherman Antitrust Act. (Unitherm Food Sys. v. Swift-Eckrich, Inc., 546 U.S. 394 (2006)).