Eric P. Early, Managing Partner with Early Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae LLP, is regularly involved in complex litigation matters, primarily focusing on a range of business, entertainment, real estate, title and escrow related litigation. Before starting Early Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae LLP with several of his former colleagues, Mr. Early had been a business litigation partner for ten years at Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs, Howard & Shapiro LLP, formerly the Christensen Miller firm, in Los Angeles.
Mr. Early’s wealth of litigation and trial experience includes trials and complex arbitrations and mediations in California, Illinois, New York, Nevada, Delaware, Colorado, Arizona and Florida. Mr. Early represents prominent entertainers, producers, athletes and managers in entertainment litigation. Also, he has represented Kirk Kerkorian’s holding company, Tracinda Corporation, in a billion dollar securities fraud case; Fidelity National Financial, First American Title Insurance Company and Old Republic National Title Insurance Company in bad faith actions; various title and escrow companies and individuals in a wide range of real estate, property and coverage litigation, as well as representing Fidelity in an action arising from the largest escrow defalcation in Illinois history.
In 2012, Mr. Early was lead trial lawyer for defendants in the action titled, Central Pacific Bank v. Fidelity National Title Company and Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, Case no. RIC 525 131, in Riverside County, California. Mr. Early obtained a complete defense verdict following a 2 month jury trial in which plaintiff, who was represented by Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, sought more than $55 million. California’s leading legal publication, The Daily Journal, selected the verdict as one of the “Top Defense Verdicts of the Year.” In another action, following a year of hard fought litigation, Mr. Early was lead trial lawyer in a binding arbitration before a panel of three arbitrators in Los Angeles centering on the most exclusive residential property in Maui, Hawaii. Plaintiff was represented by the national law firm of Holland & Knight and sought $26 million in compensatory and punitive damages. After hearing the testimony of more than 20 witnesses from around the country, the arbitration panel granted Mr. Early’s client, First American Title Insurance Company, a complete defense verdict for claims of breach of contract and insurance bad faith. Lochland Holdings, LLC v. First American Title Ins. Co., AAA Case No. 72 159 Y 00274 11. In another action, Mr. Early obtained a complete defense verdict at arbitration for his clients who own and operate nursing homes throughout California. The Firm’s clients were being sued for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, fraud, and corporations code violations. Brull v. Meridian Health Services Holding, et al., JAMS Case No. 1100079509.
Mr. Early also regularly represents individual property owners who have been the victims of real estate fraud, recently acting as lead counsel on a case in which the Firm’s client was being sued by a Saudi Arabian Princess for the turnover of the client’s Beverly Hills home. The Firm obtained summary judgment victory for its client who was able to retain ownership of the family home.
During the normal course of Mr. Early’s never-a-dull-moment practice, he oversees numerous ongoing cases. One of several that presently stand out is a case in which he and the Firm are defending approximately 200 retirees in a small town in northern Nevada, in an action brought by a member of the Washoe Tribe, who is threatening to take the Firm’s clients’ family homes (which are located on Indian land), in the action entitled Kizer v. PTP, et al., Case No. 3:15-cv-00120-RCJ-WGC (USDC Dist. Nev.).
Before attending law school, Mr. Early spent several years in the film industry including stints directing and producing short films for The Great Space Coasterchildren’s television show, post-producing animated shows such as Transformers, G.I. Joe and Jem and the Holograms, as well as writing several episodes of those series, editing award winning documentaries, serving as Director of Film Operations for Atlantic Entertainment Group, and producing trailers for B-movie king, Roger Corman.
He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from New York University’s School of the Arts and received his Juris Doctorate from Southwestern Law School. While in film school, Mr. Early was a Mobil Student Film finalist award winner. Mr. Early is a member of the Executive Board of Southwestern Law School’s Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute and is the Immediate Past-President of Southwestern Law School’s Entertainment and IP Alumni Association.
Mr. Early was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2017 for Real Estate Litigation and 2018 for Commercial Litigation; Real Estate Litigation; Entertainment Law – Motion Pictures and Television; and Entertainment Law – Music, and has been included on the list of Southern California Super Lawyers every year since 2005. Mr. Early has also been included in Super Lawyers Business Edition every year since it began publishing in 2013.
Mr. Early is the proud father of 2 children. His son Alex owns and operates a successful private jet charter company, The Early Airway. His daughter Lauren is touring the world as lead guitarist in various bands.