After arriving at Commins & Knudsen, Mr. Knudsen and his partner, David Commins achieved a series of successful results beginning with a $2.4 million judgment in a bad faith jury trial, a $3.5 million award in a FINRA arbitration, and culminating in the $160 million sale of a single wine brand – Mark West – to Constellation Brands in 2012.
Mr. Knudsen is a business litigation and transactional attorney, with experience in employment, intellectual property, real estate, finance and insurance matters. Mr. Knudsen graduated from Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., in 1991, and the University of California at Berkeley, B.A., with honors, in 1987. He was admitted to the California State Bar, and all California State courts in 1991 and federal courts in 1995. Mr. Knudsen co-authored: “Going Gray,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, April 1995; “Quick Resolutions in Intellectual Property Cases,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, December 1994; “Rico Increasingly Used in Infringement Cases,” National Law Journal, May 1993.
Mr. Knudsen has been a member of the American Bar Association, held his California Real Estate Broker’s license from 1997 to 2004 and was a member of the California Association of Realtors from 1997 until 2000. Mr. Knudsen was formerly with the firms Gray, Gieleghem, Seltz & Knudsen and Crosby Heafey Roach & May.
While at Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May, Mr. Knudsen worked in the Employment and Intellectual Property litigation practice groups. During that time, he co-authored articles involving intellectual property issues that continue to develop today. He also participated as a panel member and on an individual basis in several lecture series, including new and developing employment issues in California.
In 1995, Mr. Knudsen was hired by a firm client, the Shepherd Group. From 1995 through 2002 he was General Counsel for the Shepherd Group in Southern California with direct responsibility for a $75,000,000 real estate and personal property loan portfolio as the managing officer and director. During his tenure, the portfolio grew from $75 to $100 million with record profits. The Group included the Southern California Caterpillar Tractor Dealership, with approximately 600 employees, an insurance business, an industry publishing division, and the last private airstrip in the Los Angeles basin with both fixed and rotary wing aircraft. As General Counsel, Mr. Knudsen was solely responsible for a wide array of business transactions and all litigation matters, handling litigation directly as well as managing outside and insurance-appointed counsel.
Mr. Knudsen left the Shepherd Group in 2002 and joined his former Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May colleagues Tom Seltz and Neil Gieleghem in the Century City law firm of Gray, Gieleghem, Seltz & Knudsen. Mr. Knudsen remained a partner at that law firm until 2007. While there he litigated a bad faith insurance case against general liability and umbrella carriers. After liability verdicts against both carriers in a phase I trial, Mr. Knudsen and his partner Tom Seltz settled the matter for $3 million.
Beginning in 2003 Mr. Knudsen participated in the turn-around of a California-based security business that was near bankruptcy. After a three-year restructuring, Security Industry Specialists, Inc. became, and remains, one of the most successful security firms in the Western United States, counting among its clients Apple Computer, eBay and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Since 2005 that firm has been responsible for security at the annual Academy Awards event.
In 2007, Mr. Knudsen moved to the San Francisco Bay Area so that his wife could attend the University of California at Berkeley, and in 2008 he re-joined his former Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May colleague, David Commins, at Commins & Knudsen, P.C. in San Francisco.