amily Law Attorney Brian Kramer has represented hundreds of clients from all walks of life in contested family law cases throughout Southern California. Brian has also been involved in several high profile cases, including all of the following:
As a result of Brian’s representation of Sean in a Los Angeles-based paternity action and companion trust litigation,
Sean became an heir to The Doris
Duke Trust. Sean’s rags-to-riches story and the successful legal strategy Brian implemented to win Sean’s case intrigued Ms. Oprah Winfrey, who wrote the following:
“A savvy family law lawyer 15 years in
the business who’s had a number of
celebrity clients. [People going through
family law cases should hope to] end up
in God’s hands . . . or, failing that, Brian
Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine
After Oprah published her article about Sean’s case, the legal beat reporter for the Connecticut Tribune, Ms. Carolyn Elefant, wrote an article entitled The Importance of Getting Out in The World: How a Lawyer Found an Oprah-Worthy Case on a Trip to Staples that ran in that newspaper on January 24, 2011. Ms. Elefant wrote:
“Imagine wandering into Staples to
purchase office equipment for your new
law firm and emerging with a client
whose case would eventually land you
in Oprah’s O Magazine. Sounds far
fetched, but that’s what happened to
Southern California based lawyer Brian
Kramer who represented Sean Means, a
Staples clerk, in his legal battle to
secure his rights to the Duke Trust,
established by tobacco and tenergy
tycoon James Duke.”
January 24, 2011
To read this article online press here.
When Brian opened his family law practice, he went to buy a fax machine at a local Staples store. There, Brian
met sales clerk, Mr. Sean Sessums Means. Sean asked Brian if he would take a look at some peculiar documents that he had recently discovered. Those documents implied that Sean’s father, who had disappeared from his life since he was a toddler, may be related to Doris Duke and her father James Buchanan Duke, the namesake of Duke University. The resulting attorney-client relationship and facts it uncovered would indelibly change Sean’s life. Sean’s extraordinary case became the subject of an 8-page article in Oprah Winfrey’s
When the lead actor on the most popular TV show in the United States—Fox’s runaway hit Empire— had the most serious of family law problems imaginable he retained Brian. Terrence Howard had signed a lopsided marital settlement agreement following a short-term marriage that would have resulted in him having to pay spousal support as if he had been in a long-term marriage exceeding ten years. Invoking a seldomly used section of the Family Law Code that enables a party to set aside a family law judgment that has been procured by “duress,” Brian persuaded the trial court to set aside Terrence’s judgment. After winning this trial, Entertainment Tonight published the following:
“Terrence Howard is obviously happy about Monday's
ruling, which for now, ends any claim Ghent has to
his Empire earnings. Howard had taken Ghent to court to
attempt to overturn the couple's previous divorce settlement,
which gave Ghent several of the couple's bank accounts as
well as a portion of his earnings.
‘I could not be any more pleased by today's ruling,’ Howard
said in a statement to ET on Monday. ‘Judge Lewis's
thoroughness and understanding of the law was apparent at
every turn in these proceedings, and I am grateful to the Court
for its efforts in resolving my case. I am also grateful to my
family law attorney Brian Kramer (and the professionals on his
team) whose skill and tireless efforts enabled me to secure a
terrific ruling from the Court.’
Kramer echoed his client's sentiments.
‘Today's ruling by one of the most knowledgeable family law
jurists in California recognizes that divorce decrees signed
with a proverbial gun to one's head cannot withstand judicial
scrutiny,’ Kramer said in a statement. ‘Today's ruling represents
not only a watershed event in the life of Mr. Terrence Howard,
whose financial livelihood was hanging in the balance, but it's a
precedent setting ruling that will have implications for the entire
family law bench and bar in California.’
There is no bigger name in Hollywood than three-time Academy Award winning actor, producer, screen-writter and director Jack Nicholson. Brian was retained in a paternity action involving the famed actor, and as a result of his representation the mother of the child to got her child support modified upwards by a staggering 411%. Brian has extensive experience in cases involving extraordinarly high income earners. The post-judgment matter Brian handled against Mr. Nicholson resulted in one of the highest child support awards ever entered in Los Angeles county.
Brian has represented two separate parties against Actor Mel Gibson in family law cases.
First, Brian represented Mel’s step-mother, Ms. Joye Gibson, in her divorce from Mel’s father, Mr. Hutton Gibson. In the course of those proceedings, Brian filed an application for restraining orders against Mr. Gibson on behalf of his client.
An article entitled Inside Joye Gibson’s Domestic Violence Petition Against Stepson Mel Gibson was featured in The Daily Beast. A copy of that article can be accessed by clicking here.
Scores of other articles appeared online about the
request for a restraining order that Mr. Kramer filed on
Ms. Gibson’s behalf request against her step-son, Mel Gibson. Copies of articles that appeared in the Hollywood Reporter, Huffington Post, and ABC News and can be accessed below.
- ABC News
Brian has tried scores of cases involving requests for restraining orders under California’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act. Unfortunately, when marriages devolve into chaos it is not uncommon for angry outbursts to turn into domestic violence, and/or for there to be false or exaggerated claims of abuse. Because of the “he-said she-said” nature inherent in all domestic violence cases, skilled counsel can make the difference between winning and losing. The outcome of cases involving allegations of domestic violence stands to have profound implications for the parties involved. Among other things, the issuance of restraining orders can have implications for custody and spousal support.
After Brian filed a request for restraining orders against Mel Gibson by his step-mother, Joye Gibson, the Daily Beast published a detailed story on July 3, 2012 concerning Ms. Gibson’s allegations against Mr. Gibson. You can read that story by clicking here.
The story by the Daily Beast written by Maria Fernandez, explains:
“Say what you will about Mel Gibson], but he’s an equal-
opportunity offender. Blacks, Jews, women, gays—all have
reportedly been the target of his wrath. Now you can
apparently add the elderly to the list.
On Monday Gibson’s 78-year-old stepmother, Teddy Joye
Hicks Gibson, petitioned Los Angeles Superior Court [through
her divorce attorney Brian Kramer] for a domestic-violence
restraining order against her stepson of 10 years. In the
petition, Joye Gibson accuses the actor-director of “several
acts of domestic violence” against her and of manipulating her
husband, Hutton Gibson, into filing for divorce on June 1.”
Second, Brian represented Ms. Oksana Grigorieva in her request for an upward modification of child support against Mr. Gibson. As was reported on by TMZ on August 20, 2016, Brian was able to successfully secure a 50% increase in Ms. Grigorieva’s child support award.
“File this under glass half full… Oksana had 50 lawyers in her
epic battle with Mel, so her latest – Brian Kramer – settled and
got her a 50% increase, which is better than the scores of
lawyers did before him.” - TMZ 8/20/2016
A copy of the TMZ article can be read by clicking here.
UFC fighting champion Chuck Liddell is not only the most well-known UFC fighter of all time, he is the face of the UFC. When Mr. Liddell filed a paternity action and sought ex parte custody orders in Los Angeles Superior Court against Lori Geyer (who resides in Colorado) she knew she was in for one heck of a fight. So she retained Brian.
Thist case included interesting jurisdictional issues because the parties lived in different states. Brian, who has expertise in trying interstate and international custody disputes, persuaded the trial court that under the Uniform Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”) that Colorado was the “home state” of the minor child and the matter needed to be pursued there instead of California. At the same time, Brian also managed to persuade the trial court to keep the issue of child support venued in Los Angeles, enabling his client to take advantage of the more favorable California Child Support Guideline.
The Century City News colorfully described the victories that Brian secured for his client against Chuck Liddell as the “legal equivalent of a TKO.”
“Known as a powerhouse divorce attorney amongst the Los
Angeles legal community, Kramer, a seasoned attorney going
on 16-years of practice, typically represents . . . individuals,
professionals and celebrities involved in complex family law
cases. Most recently, Kramer was in the news for having
scored the legal equivalent of a TKO against former Ultimate
Fighting Champion Mr. Chuck Liddell in a paternity action. . . .
Kramer’s family law practice obtained national recognition
after Ms. Oprah Winfery took such a keen interest in one of his
paternity cases that she made it the subject of a 9-page
exclusive story . . . that ran in O Magazine. In that matter,
Kramer used a paternity action to prove his client, a bi-racial
Staples store clerk, had been fathered by an heir to one of the
most storied trusts in American history, the Doris Duke Trust.”
Century City News, January 24, 2011
The results from Brian’s representation of Ms. Geyer against Mr. Liddell were the subject of several news stories:
After a hearing in June 2011 for which Mr. Liddell failed to appear in Los Angeles Superior Court, the court ruled in favor of Mr. Kramer’s client, Lori Geyer. Thereafter, TMZ published the following article commenting on Mr. Liddell’s failure to appear at the key hearing:
“TMZ contacted Liddell's lawyer, who told us Chuck didn't show
because ‘[Lori's] attorney failed to provide notice in an attempt
to obtain favorable decision.
But Lori's attorney, Brian Kramer, tells us he has proof that
Chuck received notice -- adding, ‘[Liddell's lawyer] had no
valid excuse to boycott these proceedings.’”
- TMZ 6/27/2011
Brian represented Director Tim Burton in his palimony action (frequently referred to as a “Marvin Claim”) that was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by his former girlfriend. During his association at Hersh, Mannis & Bogen LLP, Brian drafted a successful demurrer for Mr. Burton. As a result of the demurrer that Brian authored, the case was dismissed on appeal.
Brian has considerable experience litigating family law cases involving parties who have worked in the music industry. Such cases often involve issues requiring the division of community musical royalties or copyrights that were created during marriage. Brian was retained by Ms. Jessica Scantlin in her divorce against Mr. Wes Scantlin, the lead singer of the American post-grunge band Puddle of Mudd. The initial filing that Brian submitted in this matter was the subject of press coverage as it sought to set aside the parties’ premarital agreement based on its improper disclosure of assets and debts.
The online publication Banana 1015 ran an article entitled “Prenup Shmenup,” and TMZ also ran a story about the matter.
The matter also ended up being the subject of a TMZ article as a result of Wes Scantlin signing his divorce decree by the use of “two smiley faces”. In that article, Brian commented that “it was the first time in his career to have an opposing party sign with a smiley face on a divorce decree imposing maximum spousal support.” Click here for copy of this TMZ article.
“Jessica's lawyer, Brian Kramer, tells TMZ, "It’s most definitely
the first time in all my years of doing this work that I’ve have
had an opposing party sign with a smiley face on a divorce
decree imposing maximum spousal support.
He adds, "It’s certainly a refreshing change to see an artist who
is cheerful about honoring such an obligation instead of
treating it like it were the end of the world." - TMZ 11/30/2011
Brian represented one of the original singers of the Blues Brothers Band in a post-judgment dispute against Grammy award-winning saxophonist, Tom Scott. Brian was able to assist his client securing a percentage of Mr. Scott’s musical royalties.
In another post-judgment dispute involving the allocation of a musician’s royalty payments owed to world-class jazz musician Mr. Stanley Clarke, Brian prepared the winning responsive brief.
In addition to representing clients before the trial court level in family law cases, Brian’s practice also includes
representing clients before the California Court of Appeal and California Supreme Court. Brian has served as appellate counsel in several family law cases involving matrimonial agreements, complex property division issues, and professional fees. Copies of appellant briefs that Brian has filed can be downloaded from the sample legal briefs section of this website.
12100 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 800 | Los Angeles, California 90025; Phone: (424) 228-4133
Copyright © 2016 Brian J. Kramer, P.C.