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Esteban Morales

Associate

[email protected]

+1.310.226.7841

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Esteban is an experienced litigator whose practice is principally focused on class action defense and financial services litigation. Esteban has successfully defended both small and large corporate clients targeted in class action suits alleging violations of various federal and state statutes, including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, California’s Unfair Competition Law, and California’s Invasion of Privacy Act. Results include dismissals at the pleading stage and without any discovery following aggressive defense strategies. In addition to defending class actions, Esteban has represented clients in real estate, trust and estate, and securities disputes. He is also a member of the firm's Sports & Entertainment Practice.

Before joining the firm, Esteban served as in-house Counsel for a major broker-dealer with thousands of registered representatives stationed throughout the country. In his capacity as an in-house attorney, Esteban litigated cases, routinely interfaced with insurance carriers and brokers, managed outside counsel, and advised on regulatory matters.

Esteban has been featured in The American Lawyer for his pro bono work with immigrant youth seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Esteban also previously practiced at a major international law firm and was an extern for the Honorable Dale S. Fischer, US District Court, Central District of California.

Education

  • University of California - Los Angeles (JD)
  • Brandeis University (BA)

Experience

Privacy Class Actions

  • Motion to dismiss granted with prejudice (no discovery) in a privacy class action suit filed against a major NBA franchise
  • Motion to dismiss granted in a privacy class action filed against an app developer claiming an app functioned as a tracking device
  • Motion to dismiss granted in privacy class action alleged against public transportation authority
  • Demurrer granted in California Invasion of Privacy Act class action against national retailer
  • Summary judgment granted in favor of global distributions systems provider in privacy class action alleging TCPA violation
  • Voluntary dismissal of TCPA class action alleged against auto dealership network
  • Voluntary dismissal of privacy class action alleged against creditor
  • Voluntary dismissal of FACTA class action alleged against local service provider

Securities

  • Managed litigation (including numerous FINRA arbitrations) for four independent broker-dealers
  • Advised clients in connection with SEC and FINRA exams and inquiries
  • Represented a federal equity receiver pursuing claims against former officers, directors, and auditors associated with a Ponzi scheme

Other Litigation

  • Second-chaired trial for declaratory relief involving assignment of a lease and prevailed on a motion for non-suit
  • Obtained dismissal of a class action claim premised on alleged violations of Cal. Penal Code Section 632.7, which criminalizes the recording of certain telephone calls on behalf of a global retailer of footwear and accessories.
  • Represented Dearden's, a furniture retailer, in a class action alleging violations of California’s Song Beverly Credit Card Act by requesting personal identification information from customers. Won on a motion to dismiss.
  • Successfully negotiated a settlement for our client, a wholesale manufacturer of vitamin supplements, in a class action alleging that they falsely advertised products as “Made in the U.S.A.”
  • Successfully negotiated a settlement for our client, a meal subscription service, in a class action alleging that they violated the TCPA by texting the named plaintiff.
  • Successfully negotiated a settlement in a class action alleging that Buckmasters, an online hunting retailer, violated the TCPA by placing calls calling plaintiff and others.
  • Plaintiff claimed that Dent-A-Med, a company offering financing and payment solutions, violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act and brought this case on behalf of herself and a putative class action. We responded by removing the case to federal court and convinced plaintiff’s counsel to voluntarily dismiss the case without engaging in any discovery.

Recognition & Awards

  • Included on the Southern California Super Lawyers: Rising Star list (2018)

Languages

- Spanish

Recent Insights

News & Press

Events

Viewpoints

Viewpoint
The trend is clear – regardless of the jurisdiction, post Reyes an increasing number of courts are willing to hold plaintiffs to their word. Given the expense of defending a TCPA class action and its potential exposure, the safest course for creditors and other businesses receiving a do-not-call request is to halt communication. Enterprising professional plaintiffs, however, may find creative ways to “revoke” consent (such as with a fax in Medley) that may go unnoticed. The trend in decisions like Reyes, Barton, Harris, Few, and Medley, however, provides peace of mind allowing businesses to rely on prior agreements memorializing consent.
Viewpoint
Read about recent TCPA cases and FCC comment periods on automatic telephone dialing systems, call blocking technologies, and a proposed emergency use exemption to the TCPA.
Viewpoint
In May 2018, the D.C. Circuit set aside the FCC’s “unreasonably expansive interpretation” of what equipment constitutes an automatic telephone dialing system (“ATDS”). See ACA International v. Federal Communications Commission, No. 15-1211 at 5 (D.C. Cir. 2018). The FCC’s 2015 promulgations broadly interpreted the TCPA’s statutory language, subjecting “ordinary calls from any conventional smartphone to the Act’s coverage.” Id. at 5. This unconfined interpretation caused TCPA lawsuits and settlement figures to skyrocket. After ACA Int’l, technology needs to actually generate telephone numbers to qualify as an ATDS. In this post-ACA landscape, at least eight district courts have held that the FCC’s expansive rulings on the TCPA have been vacated.
Viewpoint
In this issue, we look at industry comments on the FCC’s report on robocalling and efforts to urge the agency to reconsider its reassigned numbers database proposal. In addition, we examine a recent circuit split on what constitutes an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) in the Third and Ninth Circuits and what that means for TCPA defendants. The split follows the D.C. Circuit’s May 2018 decision in ACA International v. Federal Communications Commission, which set aside the FCC’s “unreasonably expansive interpretation” of what constitutes an automatic telephone dialing system.

This issue provides insurance information for companies facing TCPA lawsuits and identifies the types of policies and provisions that may offer coverage. You will also find an update on the status of the proposed reassigned numbers database as well as information about a new FCC Public Notice, released August 10. Comments on the Public Notice are expected to lay the groundwork for the FCC’s next major action on call blocking and methods to eliminate illegal robocalls.

This issue includes an update on activity at the FCC, specifically the agency’s progress in evaluating comments received in several ongoing TCPA proceedings. In addition, in our Class Action Update, we look at the current understanding of what constitutes an ATDS and why, in the wake of ACA International, it may be more difficult for plaintiffs to demonstrate that the companies they are suing used ATDS devices.

In this issue, we look at recent TCPA-related activity at the FCC, including the agency’s reevaulation of some TCPA rulings as well as a notable fine levied against a robocaller for malicious spoofing. In addition, in our Class Action & Litigation Update, we look at recent district court rulings offering different interpretations of what constitutes an ATDS, and consider where this split between the circuits leaves TCPA defendants.

As we wrote in a previous post, on March 16, 2018 the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit released its highly anticipated decision in ACA International v. Federal Communications Commission. Among other things, the DC Circuit set aside the Commission’s explanation of which devices qualified as Automatic Telephone Dialing Systems under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Though the decision has been out for less than two months, courts in the Ninth Circuit have taken notice.
This month we consider the Ninth Circuit’s pending Crunch ruling and how the decision may affect parties defending TCPA cases. You’ll find the story in our Class Action & Litigation Update. Our Legislative Update offers a quick review of the recent US House and Senate hearings on illegal robocalls. For a roundup of TCPA-related developments at the FCC, please see our Regulatory Update.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia released its long-awaited opinion on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), reversing in part and upholding in part the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) 2015 TCPA Declaratory Ruling and Order (“2015 R&O”).

News & Press

Joshua Briones, a Managing Member in Mintz’s LA office and Esteban Morales, an Associate in that office, provided comment to a Law360 article looking at a class action suit against BART, California’s public transportation systems.
Mintz's Joshua Briones, Esteban Morales, and Natalie Prescott authored an article in The Daily Journal covering a Kentucky federal court dismissal of a lawsuit brought by a drone pilot against the “Drone Slayer.”
Joshua Briones, a Managing Member in Mintz’s Los Angeles office; Esteban Morales, an Associate in that office; and Natalie Prescott, an Associate in Mintz’s San Diego office, authored this Law360 article discussing the new legal challenges presented by drones.
Mintz and Ansell Grimm & Aaron, P.C., have achieved a dismissal – among the first of its kind – on behalf of Work Out World, which faced a class action alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and attempting certification of a nationwide class. 
Member Joshua Briones and Associate Esteban Morales authored this National Law Journal article on the reality of automated vehicles or self-driving cars expectation that product liability and privacy cottage industries will develop to respond to malfunctioning autonomous technology in the future.  
Joshua Briones, Managing Member in Mintz’s Los Angeles office, and Associates Esteban Morales and Crystal Lopez, authored this Inside Counsel article covering three U.S. Supreme Court decisions in separate Telephone Consumer Protection Act TCPA class action cases.

Events

Speaker
Dec
5
2017

West Coast Director Education Forum

American College of Corporate Directors

Renaissance Hotel at Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, CA

Panelist
Apr
10
2017

Guide to Consumer Communications and Compliance: TCPA, FDCPA, CAN-SPAM, and CIPA

IAPP KnowledgeNet CLE

SDG&E Energy Innovation Center 4760 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. San Diego, CA