McGeorge alumnus wins $39 million verdict

A portrait of Ognian Gavrilov in front of a gray backdrop

Ognian Gavrilov, '08, is the managing partner at Gavrilov & Brooks, which he founded with fellow McGeorge alumnus J. Edwards Brooks, '06. Photo by Marc Kallweit.

Ognian Gavrilov, '08, recently won a $39 million verdict in a case dealing with defamation and cyberbullying. The Glenn County case is believed to be the state's largest defamation case, according to Sacramento Business Journal.

Gavrilov reports being moved by his client’s reaction to the verdict. "The relief he felt that members of his own community agreed that he was wronged. No money can repeat that experience and feeling. It made me tear up,” Gavrilov told the Business Journal.

The lawsuit was filed in 2015, but Gavrilov became involved with the case two months before trial. His client, investment adviser Dalas Gundersen, sued his former employer, Edward D. Jones & Co. LP, and two former colleagues for engaging in a campaign to defame him.

Gavrilov believes that the defense will appeal the case. He will, of course, continue assisting his client.

“This is a verdict that proves the jury system works. The jury heard a story of a man whose life was destroyed by his former colleagues and employer, and it held them all accountable for the damage they did,” Gavrilov said. “This shows that a lawyer can stand up to a massive multi-national company with unlimited resources and get justice. Might doesn’t always make right.”

Gavrilov is the managing partner at Gavrilov & Brooks, which he founded with fellow McGeorge alumnus J. Edwards Brooks, '06, in 2015. The firm has offices in Sacramento and Los Angeles.

Throughout his legal career, Gavrilov has handled more than 60 trials and arbitrations. He has won million-dollar judgments, settlements, and arbitrations.

He primarily practices in business law and corporate law, but he has also tried both plaintiff and defense cases in the areas of defamation, personal injury, employment law, patent law, immigration law, family law, and medical malpractice.

Gavrilov received the Capitol City Trial Lawyers Association (CCTLA) 2020 Advocate of the Year Award and was one of five finalists for Advocate of the Year in 2015. He has also been honored as one of the Sacramento Business Journal's Best of the Bar three times.

He is the co-founder and current vice president of the Slavic American Chamber of Commerce, a former member of the Mountain Valley Express Board of Directors, a former Chairman of the Small Business Advisory Board for the City of Sacramento, and a former advisory board member of Wells Fargo Bank.

Gavrilov’s advises law students with aspirations to become trial lawyers to build up their confidence and enter the courtroom with fearlessness.

“If you’re afraid to lose, you won’t be a successful trial lawyer,” Gavrilov said. “You have to be confident in your abilities.”