Leon B. Silver

Partner

  • Office Contact Info
  • Biography

    Leon Silver is managing partner of Gordon & Rees' Phoenix office. He is the firm’s National Practice Group leader for the Retail & Hospitality and Government Regulatory & Administrative Law practice groups.  A trial lawyer with more than 30 years’ experience handling complicated business and real estate related disputes, he is also a member of the firm's Commercial Litigation, Trial Practice, Class Action, Securities Litigation, Employment, and Privacy, Data & Cybersecurity practice groups. Mr. Silver has a proven record of success in the most difficult, high dollar disputes the firm's clients have faced.

    An accomplished trial lawyer, Mr. Silver is member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, one of the premier legal associations of trial lawyers in America, membership in which is extended by invitation only to experienced trial lawyers who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality.

    Mr. Silver represents national and multi-national retailers, restaurants, hotels and management companies, government regulated entities, utilities, sophisticated real estate investors and developers, small businesses and business people. As leader of the firm’s Retail & Hospitality and Government Regulatory & Administrative Law practice groups, he provides counsel to his clients on all aspects of their business operations, with a special expertise in the protection of proprietary information, privacy and data security, preventing or protecting clients from government over-reach or over-regulation, employment issues  and in the prosecution or defense of "high stakes", “bet the company” and other high-dollar business tort litigation.

    Examples of his successes on behalf of clients include:

    • Obtained a defense jury verdict on an $11 million claim by a vendor for alleged wrongful returns, unearned discounts, and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing regarding the sale of vendor’s power products (scooters, generators, lights) in client's stores. Jury agreed with our view that balance of the account was only $10,733. The decision was over-turned by a split panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals, which subsequently rejected his client's attorneys' fee claim. Mr. Silver successfully petitioned for review by the Arizona Supreme Court twice, and in each instance obtained a reversal of the Court of Appeals ruling and, ultimately, a victory for his client.

    • Successfully prevented an attempt to place his client's recycling plant into Receivership and fended off claims for damages in the tens of millions of dollars arising from alleged fraudulent activity associated with the solicitation of investment capital in the company. The dispute involved litigation in both Arizona and Florida, investors from several different Central and South American countries, and allegations of money laundering, embezzlement, fraud and racketeering activity.

    • Reversed a $400,000 Department of Homeland Security Administrative Law Judge ruling against his client on appeal to the Ninth Circuit arising from an illegal Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid on the client’s restaurants.   The client walked away with a $100,000 attorney fee payment to the client by the government in full resolution of the case. 

    • Successfully prevented a government agency from obtaining disgorgement of tens of millions of dollars of revenue from the firm's client based on a alleged violations of government regulations regarding how public works companies may be operated.

    In addition to his practice, Mr. Silver is a frequent public speaker and author. An accomplished artist, Mr. Silver's paintings have been featured in magazines and can be found in offices, homes and public spaces across the country.

    Admissions

    Arizona
    United States Supreme Court
    United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
    United States District Court, District of Arizona

    Memberships

    DRI The Voice of the Defense Bar

    • Retail & Hospitality Committee - Commercial Litigation SLG, Co-Chair
    • Commercial Litigation Committee - Cyber Security SLG, Past Chair

    Sedona Conference - Working Group 11 - Data Security and Privacy Liability

    • Co-Editor for the Sedona Conference Data Breach Response Guide (2020)
    • Co-Author for the Sedona Conference Security/Privacy in Civil Litigation (2018)

    Arizona Technology Council

    • Cybersecurity Committee

    Community Involvement

    Take the Lead, Board of Directors
    Liberty Project

    • Founder
    • Community Attorney Advisor

    Planned Parenthood Arizona

    • Trustee, 2001-present, Co-Chair, 2013-present
    • Board of Directors, 1993-2003, Chair, 2001-2003

    Phoenix Art Museum

    • Contemporary Forum
  • Practice Areas
  • Representative Experience
    • Led a multi-office team that successfully prevented the implementation of a receiver and attempted foreclosure of a client's newly developed recycling plant.  His team identified a number of suspicious financial transactions, involving parties in several countries, and being funneled through Miami entities. This led to the filing of a counterclaim alleging fraud, Civil RICO claims, and various business torts, in the existing Arizona action and a threatened Federal Lawsuit to be brought in Miami against several related parties who resided both within the United States, and in Colombia, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic. The aggressive pursuit of the counterclaim and threatened Miami lawsuit led quickly to a favorable settlement for the client.
    • Successfully negotiated a nominal settlement payment in response to a $3+ Billion claim brought by the Michigan Attorney General against a textile recycling client accused of falsely soliciting clothing donations on behalf of a local charity. Under the pressure of a Gubernatorial Campaign focused on shutting down fraudulent charitable solicitors, Mr. Silver was able to convince the Attorney General that his client was a legitimate recycling organization, committed to its mission of eliminating waste and improving the environment while supporting deserving charitable organizations.
    • Obtained summary judgment against consumer plaintiff in no-injury/no-accident class action alleging consumer fraud because seat belts allegedly false latched.
    • Developed an international, multi-jurisdiction litigation strategy that led to the successful settlement of several complex lawsuits on behalf of our client. Mr. Silver conceived of and directed the filing of claims against a number of affiliated entities in five separate lawsuits in U.S. and European courts. After vigorously litigating this matter for more than two years, successfully overcoming jurisdictional and other Rule 12 challenges, and defeating a preliminary injunction counterclaim in one of the cases, Mr. Silver's team negotiated a favorable settlement of all claims and counterclaims.
    • Immediately after opening statements in a federal jury trial, the vendor – despite claiming more than $30 million in damages – agreed to client's pre-trial settlement offer for amounts due on an alleged requirements contract for rebuilt alternators and related products.
    • Client retained ownership in a dispute between founders of two yoga studios as to who had the rights to continue operations in facilities and to the customer lists.
    • Obtained a $1.5 million award in client’s favor on a counterclaim against a vendor plaintiff that was seeking $2.5 million on its account.
    • Obtained a significant attorney fee award in favor of medical practice client in a business divorce case, despite the arbitration panel finding that money was owed to the departing doctor. The result was a net payment in client’s favor.
    • Successfully prosecuted a breach of contract claim against retail client’s pay phone vendor for repudiating exclusive pay phone installation and service contract for phones at all 1,100 of client's stores.
    • Successfully prosecuted a lost profits claims against general contractor, and coverage claim against insurer through trial where contractor’s sub caused client's national specialty parts call center to be shut down for a day by allowing lacquer fumes to circulate through the building’s air conditioning system.
    • Successfully challenged several years of CAM allocations charged to restaurant client and obtained attorneys' fees awards through all levels of trial and appeals.

    Published Decisions

    • Frimmel Management, LLC v. United States of America; U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 897 F.3d 1045 (9th Cir. 2018)
    • American Power Products, Inc., v CSK Auto, Inc., 390 P.3d 804, 241 Ariz. 541 (2017)
    • American Power Products, Inc. v. CSK Auto, Inc., 367 P.3d 55, 239 Ariz. 151 (2016)  
    • Frimmel v. Sanders, 236 Ariz. 232, 338 P.3d 972 (App. 2014)
    • Levy v. Englund, 2009 Ariz. App. Unpub. LEXIS 972 (Ariz. Ct. App.2009)
    • Soling v. McCain, 224 Fed. Appx. 563 (9th Cir. 2007) cert. denied by Soling v. McCain, 552 U.S. 975, 128 S. Ct. 440, 169 L. Ed. 2d 307, 2007 U.S. LEXIS 11528 (2007)
    • Fernandez v. Takata Seat Belts, Inc., 210 Ariz. 138 (2005)
    • CSK Auto, Inc. v. Davel Communs. Group, Inc., 35 Fed. Appx. 551 (9th Cir. 2002)
    • DePasquale v. Superior Court, 181 Ariz. 333 (App. 1995)
    • Riely v. Reno, 860 F. Supp. 693 (D. Arizona, 1994)
    • Tonnemacher v. Sasak, 859 F. Supp. 1273 (D. Arizona 1994)
    • Canon School Dist. 50 v. W.E.S. Const., 174 Ariz. 269 (App. 1992)
  • Publications|Presentations|Media

    Publications

    Presentations

    • Diversity and Inclusion: Social Justice, Ethics, and Equity (Guest Panelist), Triad West Diversity Breakfast, Phoenix, Arizona (September 23, 2019) 
    • Effectively Representing Clients in Mediation  (Guest Panelist), Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, (February 25, 2019)
    • Welcoming our Transgender Customers, Panel Moderator, DRI Retail & Hospitality Litigation Seminar, Chicago, Ill (May 4, 2018)
    • The State of Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession Symposium, Featured Speaker, Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, Chicago, Illinois and Cincinnati, Ohio (June 2017)
    • Effective Use of Cybersecurity Insurance, Breach Scenario Presenter and Panel Moderator, Arizona Technology Council Cybersecurity Summit, Scottsdale, Arizona (May 4, 2017) 
    • Cybersecurity and Data Incident Response: Practical Advice for Lawyers and Other Assorted Technophobes, Moderator, ASU-Arkfeld eDiscovery and Evidence Conference (March 8, 2017)
    • Tipping Points: The Finer Points of Tipped Employees in Retail & Hospitality, Moderator, Gordon & Rees National Employment Law Webinar Series (August 2016) 
    • The Perils of Connectivity: Privacy and Security on the Internet of Things, Presenter, Association of Corporate Counsel Luncheon, Phoenix, AZ (September 29, 2016)
    • The Perils of Connectivity: Privacy and the Internet of Things, Panel Moderator, Arizona State Bar CLE by the Sea (July 2016)
    • You're Going to Get Breached, But you Don't Have to Get Sued, DRI Retail & Hospitality Litigation Seminar, Chicago, Ill (May 5, 2016)
    • How Safe Is That Card? - The Whats and Whys of EMV, Heffernan & Gordon Rees Webinar (April 19, 2016)
    • Tales from the [En]Crypted, Heffernan & Gordon Rees Webinar (March 15, 2016)
    • National Roundtable Series on Legal Education for the University of California, Irvine School of Law, Participant (March 2016)
    • The Sedona Conference Working Group 11 Annual Meeting, Discussion Leader on Data Breach Response Guide, Scottsdale, Arizona (December 2015)
    • The Internet of Things – Where Opportunities and Privacy Collide, Panelist, LexisNexis Webinar (October 2015)
    • The Perils of Connectivity: Privacy and the Internet of Things, Panel Moderator, Arizona State Bar Convention (June 2015)
    • You're Going to Get Breached, But you Don't Have to Get Sued, DRI Commercial Litigation Committee, Beyond the Borders, Emerging Issues in Business Litigation, Seminar, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (June, 2015)
    • Data Breach Team Members and Roles, Panel Moderator, Arizona Technology Council Cybersecurity Summit, Scottsdale, Arizona (May 2015)
    • Play Hockey Like a Girl! A Discussion on Careers for Women in Sports, Host and presenter, Glendale, Arizona (November 2014)
    • For Better Returns, Look for the Women, SoCap14 Social Impact Investing Conference, San Francisco, California (September 2014)
    • Litigating a Business Case in Arizona, State Bar of Arizona CLE by the Sea Program, Coronado, California (July 2014)
    • An Insider's View - Tips on Winning and Retaining Business, DRI Retail & Hospitality Litigation and Claims Management Seminar, Chicago, Illinois (May 2014)
    • Cybersecurity and Data Governance: The 21st Century Legal Issue, DRI Retail & Hospitality Litigation and Claims Management Seminar, Chicago, Illinois (May 2014)
    • Then Then and Now, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University (April 2014)
    • Does One Breach Matter: Lessons Learned & Opportunities Gained, ACTRA and Arizona Infragard, Executive Cybersecurity Threat Response Symposium (March 2014)
    • A Different Point of View - Maximizing Your Company's Value, Arizona Technology Council (February 2014)
    • Prosecution and Defense of A Business Case in Arizona, Arizona State Bar Convention (June 2013)
    • Piercing the Corporate Veil under Arizona Law, Business Law Institute, Phoenix, Arizona (June 2013)

    In the Media

  • Education

    Education

    J.D., Arizona State University, 1989

    • Graduate research assistant on Karjala, An Analysis of Close Corporation Legislation in the United States, 21 Arizona State Law Journal 663

    B.A., St. Lawrence University, 1984

    Honors

    Member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)

    Top 10 Arizona Lawyers, Commercial Litigation

    Top 100 Lawyers in Arizona

    Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America

    Selected for inclusion in Southwest Super Lawyers 2008-2020 for Business Litigation

    Top Rated Lawyer-AV® Preeminent™, Martindale-Hubbell

    Sustaining Member, Arizona's Finest Lawyers

    Recipient of the YWCA Tribute to Leadership "Advocacy Leader Award" for his career in public advocacy

    AZRE's Top People to Know in Commercial Real Estate, for Commercial Litigation

    Recognized at Planned Parenthood's Annual Standup for Choice Luncheon as public service honoree

    Recipient of the Peggy Goldwater Award, the highest honor bestowed by Planned Parenthood Arizona

    Recipient of the first "Fabulous Attorney Advisor Award" from the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University for his work with the Liberty Project

    Recipient of the Let Freedom Ring, Legal Community Leadership Award, in recognition of his years of volunteer legal service

    Recipient of the "Leading Man Award" from Take The Lead for his years of work for gender parity