Audette Paul Morales
- Commercial Litigation
- Securities Litigation
- Banking & Finance
Audette Paul Morales focuses her practice primarily on securities, real estate, mortgage banking and business litigation.
Ms. Morales is admitted to practice law before all California State courts, United States District Courts for the Southern, Central, Eastern, and Northern Districts of California, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition to holding a license to practice law, Ms. Morales is a California licensed real estate broker (DRE# 02051716).
In June 2018, Ms. Morales was recognized by the Los Angeles Business Journal in its 2018 Women’s Council & Awards (nominee). In 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, Ms. Morales was recognized by Law & Politics Magazine as one of Southern California’s “Rising Stars.”
Over the years, Ms. Morales has been actively involved in firm and associate development. Part of her philanthropic efforts have included initiating a charitable foundation, managing a continuing education program for a regional firm, and participating in an interdepartmental group dedicated to reducing the firm’s carbon footprint through evaluating and implementing Earth-friendly policies, purchasing and education. Formerly, Ms. Morales was also a commission member and liaison for The Village Church Preschool in her hometown of Rancho Santa Fe, California.
Securities Litigation, Regulatory and Enforcement Actions
Ms. Morales regularly defends financial services firms, financial advisors and registered investment advisers, in matters involving claims for unsuitability, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, unauthorized trading, churning, elder abuse, breach of contract, violation of federal and state securities and consumer protection laws, and related claims, before the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (FINRA) and in state superior and appellate courts as well as federal court. Ms. Morales also frequently assists clients with regulatory matters, including FINRA and SEC examinations and on-the-record interviews, and consults with clients on regulatory hot topics such as senior investor protection. She also handles Central Registration Depository (“CRD”) record expungements through FINRA on almost a daily basis. Additionally, Ms. Morales has performed securities class action work and represented parties in a significant SEC receivership action. She has also spoken on topics related to the securities industry and broker-dealer and registered investment adviser (“RIA”) record retention requirements before professional groups.
Ms. Morales represents corporate and individual clients in landlord-side real estate matters involving both commercial and residential properties. In her practice, she regularly handles tenant disputes as well as lease and contract negotiations. Representative matters include new tenant move-ins, lease amendments, enforcement of lease provisions, collection of CAM, lease termination agreements, temporary relocation agreements, coordinating tenant relocations, handling issues related to tenant claims of uninhabitability, tenant subleases, insurance (property, general liability and professional liability) policy analysis, eviction proceedings and litigation involving the California Coastal Commission. She has also assisted real estate investment clients in all aspects of forming limited liability companies.
Mortgage Banking Litigation
Ms. Morales’s work also focuses on mortgage banking, where she regularly defends claims involving individual lending transactions, including both origination and servicing claims. Some of the matters in which Ms. Morales serves as counsel include the defense of wrongful foreclosure and fraud claims, claims involving promised or failed loan modifications, unfair business practices, statutory consumer lending violations, HBOR and HAMP-related claims, lien priority disputes, boundary and easement disputes. She also handles matters involving errors in title documents and lending documents, title insurance coverage and force-placed insurance.
Ms. Morales regularly represents and consults with clients on a wide variety of general business and litigation matters. She has handled Temporary Restraining Orders/Preliminary Injunctions, breach of lease cases, contract disputes for the City of Long Beach, legal malpractice matters, and Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) cases.
Subpoenas, Levies and Garnishments
Ms. Morales consistently assists corporate clients with third-party subpoenas, levies, and garnishments, which often include matters pending in civil, family, probate, and bankruptcy court, as well as FINRA arbitrations, across the country. The services she provides range from providing procedural and substantive guidance to clients to full service handling of these matters. In 2018, Ms. Morales spoke on the topic of third party subpoenas at the Independent Broker Dealer Consortium, a notable industry conference.
Interpleaders, Judgment Enforcement and Collections
Ms. Morales regularly assists financial institution and corporate clients with interpleader actions when they find themselves in the midst of competing claims to, or a dispute as to ownership of, account or other assets. Ms. Morales takes a practical and proactive approach in the handling of these matters in order to avoid exposure to double or multiple liability to the parties claiming an interest in the assets. She also assists corporate clients in connection with judgment enforcement matters. She has located and seized real property and assets following judgment, litigated broker promissory note cases, and advised on various levy and execution matters.
Ms. Morales represents employers in administrative and arbitration proceedings involving discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, wage and hour, trade secret, and raiding claims. She also assists clients with investigations and advisory matters, including creating employee policy manuals.
Appellate Cases and Published Arbitration Awards
Ms. Morales has prepared appellate briefs and argued matters before the Ninth Circuit. Unpublished Opinion: Barry M. Webb v. David Hadzicki, et al., 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2924 (Apr. 25, 2014). She has also acted as counsel in more than 35 published arbitration awards.
U.S. District Court, Southern, Central, Eastern, and Northern Districts of California
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
M.B.A., University of San Diego School of Business, 2002
J.D., University of San Diego School of Law, 2000
B.A., Political Science, University of Southern California, 1995
Member, USC Club Volleyball Team
Attended, University of Virginia
Member, Cavaliers Volleyball Team
Member, Delta Zeta Sorority
Nominee, 2018 Women’s Council & Awards, Los Angeles Business Journal
Recognized by Law & Politics Magazine as a Southern California “Rising Star”
(2007 – 2013)