Brian J. HannonPartner

My focus: Primarily, my practice is focused on litigation including real estate, construction, legal malpractice, insurance coverage, and employment matters.  I have prosecuted and defended elder abuse and probate cases.  I have drafted contracts and record retention and disposal policies.  I have also handled Americans with Disabilities Act matters.

Education: J.D., Santa Clara University School of Law, 1981.  Dean’s List all three years.  Recipient of American Jurisprudence Awards for Criminal Law and Evidence; B.A., Literature, University of California, Santa Cruz, Awarded Honors in Major, 1976.  Major in 19th Century American literature and a minor in Classical Latin literature.

Representative Matters:

  • I successfully represented a major landowner who was being investigated by a county acting as the lead agency under the NPDES for allegedly discharging excessive sediment into a river.
  • On behalf of three shopping center owners, I successfully defended them against claims by a real estate broker who claimed the owners had promised that they would not lease space in the center to another broker.  The case was disposed of on summary judgment.
  • I successfully represented three partners who were defrauded when their fourth partner embezzled $1 Million from the partnership by forging the managing partner’s signature on a check.  The case was settled with the defendant repaying the stolen funds, together with ten percent interest, and all of my clients’ attorney’s fees and costs.

Favorite part of working at Greenfield: After more than 25 years of practice, I still thrive on the daily intellectual challenge. I learn something new every day, and not just about the law. I learn about the intricacies of my clients’ businesses — knowledge that is critical to understanding and addressing in a creative manner the legal issues confronting them.  I look forward to coming in every day and discovering and learning something new.

Proudest achievements:

  • We represented a family who had invested millions of dollars in a Ponzi-scheme involving fraudulent second deeds of trust.   While digging through hundreds of records at the county recorder’s office, I was able to establish that the defendant had cut-and-pasted the recorder’s stamp on the copies of the deeds of trust that he had provided to our clients and others in order to lull them into believing that nothing was amiss.  Our firm filed a petition placing the defendant in involuntary bankruptcy.  Ultimately, our clients were able to recover some of their investment.  The defendant was sentenced to 25 years in state prison.
  • On behalf of a commercial landlord, I successfully prosecuted a case against a high-tech company that had induced the landlord to construct $1 million in tenant improvements based on the tenant’s financial statements.  The tenant later defaulted.  While delving through other lawsuits filed with the superior court in which the tenant was a party, I happened upon financial statements that the tenant had produced in another lawsuit.  The financial statements were the opposite of the ones the tenant had provided to my client at or about the same time. After several months of discovery and working with a forensic accountant, I was able to prove that the tenant was “cooking the books” and had provided my client with false financial statements.  Ultimately we were able to settle the case for everything my client was owed, including most of its attorney’s fees.

Pro bono work I do (or have done) through Greenfield: Most recently, in an elder abuse case, we realized that our 94-year-old client could not afford to pay us. We wrote off all of our fees and paid the costs out of our own pocket while continuing to litigate the matter. We were able to obtain a settlement that allows our client to pay her living expenses every month. That was a good feeling.

Highest-value victory: We settled the case I mentioned involving the false financial statement for roughly $1.82 million.

When I’m not working, you’ll find me: Of course, my family (especially my young grandson) means everything to me.  I am an avid amateur photographer, and I read a lot.  I enjoy reading about quantum physics and the always-evolving theories about the origin of the Universe. I am also very interested in books about the history of theology, especially the first three centuries of the history of Christianity.

What prepared me best for my career: My father was an attorney, and a very good one.  He inculcated in me the principle that one should never give up the pursuit if he believes he is right.  But, as my father cautioned me, the corollary of this principle is to double check frequently whether you are, in fact, right!

Why clients like me: I tell them the unvarnished truth. If I believe the other party’s case or defense has merit, I try to get my clients to look at and evaluate the dispute from the other party’s point of view so that the parties can reach a reasonable compromise early on.  If it is not possible to reach a compromise, then I will roll up my sleeves and will do whatever is ethically and legally permissible to obtain the best possible result for my client.