Law Offices of
Daniel Ritkes

 
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  Biography

EDUCATION 

B.A., English, University of California, Berkeley 

M.A., English, San Francisco State University 

Standard Secondary Teaching Credential, St. Mary’s College (Moraga, CA) 

Juris Doctorate, University of San Fernando Valley College of Law

 LAW PRACTICE 

Since 1979, Mr. Ritkes’ law practice has emphasized the following areas:

Civil litigation in areas of Contract and Real Estate law, Personal Injury,  Civil and Criminal appeals, arbitrations, Criminal law, and Family law.   Other areas of practice are California State Bar Defense, Disciplinary Defense and License Issues for Physicians, Attorneys and Real Estate Professionals, Restraining Orders,  Legal Malpractice,  Probate Litigation  and  Clergy Abuse.

Mr. Ritkes has served as an Arbitrator for the Los Angeles County Superior Court and the Santa Monica Bar Association.


 

PUBLISHED CRIMINAL APPEALS IN MURDER CASES

The following appeals handled by Mr. Ritkes, representing clients who were convicted of murder, resulted in rulings that were certified for publication, contributing to the body of case law in California that can be cited as authority:

 People v. Leigh (1985) 168 Cal.App. 3d 217

People v. Stewart (1985) 165 Cal.App.3d 1050

People v. Jacobs & Owens (1986) 195 Cal.App.3d 1636

PUBLISHED CIVIL APPEALS

The following appeal was handled by Mr. Ritkes.  It concerned a civil restraining order that was certified for publication and created new law in California, resulting in major changes in the way restraining orders are handled by courts, and in changes in the court forms used for obtaining restraining orders:

               Ritchie v. Konrad (2004) 115 Cal.App.4th 1275

APPELLATE HIGHLIGHTS

In People v. Leigh (1985) 168 Cal.App.3d 217, Mr. Ritkes obtained a  reversal of a first-degree murder conviction on the grounds of disproportionate sentences between participants in the crime.

Handling both the trial and the civil appeal of Ritchie v. Konrad (2004) 115 Cal.App.4th 1275, Mr. Ritkes raised an issue of first impression, in which he argued that the restraining order statute, which provides for renewal of restraining orders for the life of the restrained party without a showing of “further abuse” was too vague.   The appellate court adopted a new standard for renewing restraining orders, the one which was proposed by Mr.Ritkes and which is now the law in California.  In addition, the appellate court reversed the trial court and Mr.Ritkes got the lifetime restraining order against his client dissolved.

In Case No. B001311 (1986), Mr. Ritkes got the appellate court to modify a sentence for first-degree murder from life without the possibility of parole to 25 years to life on the grounds that no intent to kill was proven by the prosecution (the law has changed since then).

PRELIMINARY HEARING HIGHLIGHTS

In Case No. LA 032579 (1999), Mr. Ritkes’ client, a labor union official, was charged with embezzlement of union funds.  In a five-day preliminary hearing in which Mr. Ritkes presented affirmative defenses, he subpoenaed the president, vice-president, treasurer, accountant and business agent of the union to testify, all of whom were extremely hostile to his client.  The outcome of the preliminary hearing was that some of the charges were dismissed, and the remainder of the case was dismissed on a subsequent motion.  

Soon after the criminal case was dismissed, Mr. Ritkes drafted a civil suit against the union for malicious prosecution, and after a one-day mediation, obtained a large, confidential civil settlement for his client as the result of the bringing of criminal charges.

In Case No. BA 095127 (1994), Mr. Ritkes’ client was charged with mayhem, and assault with a deadly weapon with great bodily injury, exposing his client to a life sentence.   Mr. Ritkes got the mayhem charge dismissed at the preliminary hearing, and then combined other pending cases into a resolution that involved a plea to assault, with a one-year sentence.  

REAL ESTATE TRIAL HIGHLIGHTS 

In Case No. BC 212860 (2001), Mr. Ritkes represented the seller of a 4-unit property on the Venice Canals who changed her mind during escrow and refused to sell the building.  The seller was sued for breach of contract and fraud by the buyer, a billionaire developer from Chicago who hired one the largest and oldest law firms in the United States, whose clients included Presidents Johnson and Clinton, with 800 lawyers in their Washington, D.C. office alone.  For a seller to get out of an obligation to sell during escrow is extremely rare.   After 2 years of litigation, several pre-trial writs, three motions for summary judgment, and a two-week jury trial, Mr. Ritkes prevailed on all causes of action.   The plaintiff appealed, hiring a large firm with one of the top appellate lawyers in the nation, and Mr. Ritkes represented his client in the appeal, and prevailed in Case No. B 156077 (2004).   When Mr. Ritkes sought to collect the attorney’s fees awarded as the prevailing party at trial and appeal, the other party refused to pay, claiming assets were not in his name, but rather held by a family trust.  Associating into the collection case in Illinois with a Chicago law firm, Mr. Ritkes forced the other side into an involuntary bankruptcy and litigation ensued in bankruptcy court, finally settling on the day of trial in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, Case No. 04 B 42614.  Mr. Ritkes’ client received all of her attorney’s fees incurred, through trial, appeal and collection, plus the legal rate of interest of 10% per annum (for 5 years). 

The other side disclosed in its billing it employed 15 attorneys and several paralegals working on the case through trial.

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

        United States Supreme Court Bar 

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit 

United States District Court for the Central District of California  

United States Tax Court 

California Supreme Court Bar 

Los Angeles County Bar Association 

 

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