Richard B. Kendall

Richard Kendall’s litigation experience spans more than three decades, several continents, and leading judicial and arbitration forums worldwide.

Mr. Kendall has argued and successfully resolved sophisticated, contentious and unprecedented challenges to the First Amendment and the rights of privacy and publicity. He has tried and won over 30 trials on both the defense and plaintiff sides of the courtroom. He has argued on pre-emption of state consumer laws and environmental claims against the military before the United States Supreme Court, and litigated asset confiscation and recovery claims connected to the fall of Saigon and the overthrow of former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.

His courtroom background includes serving as lead trial counsel in over several dozen trials in federal and state courts and a score of appeals in the state and federal appellate courts, including two arguments before the United States Supreme Court.

As a commercial litigator and advisor on transactional matters, Mr. Kendall represents major entertainment studios, leading media companies, securities, banking and financial institutions, and foreign governments in complex, sensitive, and high-stakes disputes and negotiations. Distribution rights battles, copyright, financing, and profit-participation disputes are currently significant areas of his counsel to clients.

Representative Matters

Media, Entertainment, and Intellectual Property

Entertainment Copyright and Trademark Litigation and Advice

Defense of studio at trial in federal court in New York against claims of securities fraud.

Defense of prominent Hollywood business manager against claims of breach of fiduciary duty.

Defense of television networks in class actions brought by composers and music recording companies alleging copyright infringement resulting from the use of music in television programming.

Handled dozens of disputes on behalf of film studios and television networks in federal and foreign courts relating to the ownership or control of copyrighted materials.

Retained by video-game manufacturers and developers to handle litigations over rights to use likenesses and images.

Advised and counseled on the use and infringement of trademarks related to numerous entertainment properties and brand-name retail goods.

Resolved litigations between television networks over reality-television formats.

Defense of television network against claims of invasion of privacy arising from television programming.

Litigated between television networks or film studios and the many authors, composers, and idea-submitters who claim ownership of successful television shows and theatrical motion pictures.

Defense of media companies in actions involving major injuries suffered in accidents occurring while filming of theatrical motion pictures and television shows.

Advertising and Entertainment Industry Litigation and Advice

Represented several of the largest national media companies in litigation with cities over fees and restrictions related to outdoor advertising.

Represented a major media company in defense of claims arising from text-messaging advertising.

Defended television networks and retail stores in consumer false-advertising claims.

Defend consumer class actions involving video-game industry alleging false advertising and defective products.

Engaged to defend a television producer in the appellate courts against charges that the producer discriminated against a pregnant actress. Producer was alleged to have terminated the actress rather than retain her as the vixen in the cast of a prominent soap opera.

Defended an environmental activist website against claims of a prominent celebrity that a photograph of her personal residence infringed her privacy rights and misappropriated her publicity rights.

Represented a television network in a grand jury investigation relating to the content of broadcasts that allegedly depict harm to animals.

Distribution and Vendor Arrangements

Represented most of the major film studios and producers of television programs in litigation with international free and pay television broadcasters, as well as film-processing and video-distribution vendors.

Managed sophisticated commercial conflicts involving contract rights of refusal and first-negotiation and most-favored-nation clauses. Other issues dealt with include terminations, renewals of long-term output agreements, and insolvencies. As part of the resolution process, Mr. Kendall appeared before numerous state and federal courts in the United States and in European and Asian courts and ADR forums.

Commercial Litigation

Banking Litigations

Represented Citibank before the Los Angeles Superior Court, the California Court of Appeal, the California Supreme Court, and finally the United States Supreme Court in a successful defense of a consumer class action challenging credit-card late fees. When the argument eventually came before the United States Supreme Court, Mr. Kendall prevailed on the basis that state consumer laws were preempted by the National Bank Act.

Advised and counseled some of the nation’s largest banking institutions in disputes with borrowers and asset-backed insurers relating to unpaid loans and insolvencies. Disputes have ranged from domestic litigation between banks and major borrowers arising from underwater real estate loans to international litigation over loan portfolios covering resort properties located in the U.S. and throughout the world.

Represented two U.S.-based international banks. Defended against claims of Vietnamese citizens who held deposits in those banks when Saigon fell and the banks’ assets were confiscated by the Communist government.

Lender Liability/Real Estate Litigations

Advised and counseled some of the nation’s largest banking institutions in disputes with borrowers and asset-backed insurers relating to unpaid loans and insolvencies. Disputes have ranged from domestic litigation between banks and major borrowers arising from underwater real estate loans to international litigation over loan portfolios covering resort properties located in the U.S. and throughout the world.

Securities-Based Litigations and Counsel

Represented a major television studio in securities litigation in the federal courts of New York stemming from an unsuccessful film-slate financing. Engaged previously in connection with similar litigation in England and New York involving insurance-backed, film-slate financings.

Represented a major investment bank in the trial of a class action alleging improper payment of “greenmail” to a corporate raider.

Conducted internal and international investigations into frauds committed by executives employed by domestic and multinational companies, and defend resulting securities claims brought by shareholders or government entities. In these matters, Mr. Kendall draws upon his background as a federal prosecutor and commercial litigator.

International Litigations and Arbitrations

Served as counsel to the Brunei Investment Authority and related entities in cross-border litigations stemming from Prince Jefri’s management of Amedeo Group.

Engaged as counsel for the Bank of China in civil prosecutions in Australia, England, Hong Kong, and California to recover funds stolen in an international fraud scheme.

Represented China National Coal Development Corp. in a dispute on the dissolution of coal-mining joint venture in northeastern China.

Represented a major film studio in litigation arising from the failure and bankruptcy of a Japanese television distributor.

Served as counsel for Sonatrach, the Energy Ministry of Algeria, in a breach-of-contract action to recover $44 million in contract fees relating to a hydrochemical plant constructed in Algeria.

Represented the Republic of the Philippines in worldwide actions to recover assets, in the aftermath of the overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos, that the Marcos family had secreted in the United States, France, Switzerland, and Hong Kong.

Pro Bono Litigation

Natural Resources Defense Counsel, et al. v. U.S. Navy, et al., (Channel Islands Protection)

Served as pro bono counsel for Natural Resources Defense Counsel and other environmental organizations. Successfully obtained an injunction in 1994 blocking the Navy’s planned detonation of explosives near the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary.

Natural Resources Defense Counsel, et al. v. U.S. Navy, et al., (Endangered Species Protection)

Argued Winter v. NRDC case before United States Supreme Court in October 2008.

Provided pro bono counsel for NRDC in three separate litigations from 2005 through 2008 successfully challenging U.S. Navy’s failure to comply with environmental laws in use of mid-frequency sonar.


Federal Pretrial Civil Procedure in California, R. Kendall, R. Seeborg, M. Shartsis, and F. Smith (LexisNexis, 2004)


University of Southern California Law School
  • Adjunct Professor
Western Center on Law and Poverty
  • Board of Directors, 1989–1997
Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
  • Board of Directors, 2001–2007
The Broad Stage
  • Chair – Board of Directors, 2014-present
  • Member – Board of Directors, since 2011
Human Rights Watch
  • Member – Southern California Committee, since 2011




Southern California “Super Lawyers,” 2004 – 2015
Hollywood Reporter Power Lawyer, multiple years to present

Prior to Kendall Brill Kelly

Mr. Kendall’s experience leading up to the founding of KBK in 2009 includes:

U.S. Department of Justice
  • Assistant United States Attorney
    Los Angeles, 1980–85
  • Criminal Division, Assistant Chief, 1983-85
  • John Marshall Award for Trial of Litigation, Recipient
Munger Tolles & Olson LLP
  • Partner, 1986–88
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Partner, 1988-97
Irell & Manella LLP
  • Partner, 1997-2009

Bar and Court Admissions

California, 1979
U.S. District Courts
  • Central, Eastern, Northern and Southern Districts of California
  • Northern District of Illinois
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court

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