Law Offices of
Rex T. Reeves

13522 Newport Avenue, Suite 201
Tustin, California 92780
(714) 731-8500
Fax: (714) 731-5741
rreeves@reeveslawoffices.com

J.D., Harvard Law School, with honors, 1988
25-plus year litigator in Southern California
Successful representation of hundreds of clients
Extensive experience in both federal and state courts

Civil Litigation, with an emphasis on:
Business Litigation
Franchise Law
Intellectual Property


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Firm Overview and PhilosophyBackgroundDescription of PracticeClients and Overview of Matters HandledDisclaimer


Firm Overview and Philosophy

Firm Overview

The Law Offices of Rex T. Reeves combines the high quality work product and expertise a client looks for in the nation’s largest and most respected law firms with the personalized attention and efficiency one may find in a small firm.

An honors graduate of Harvard Law School, Rex Reeves has litigated cases in Southern California (as well as in other jurisdictions) for over twenty-five years. Representing both plaintiffs and defendants, he has extensive experience handling all aspects of significant civil litigation matters from start to finish, including:

Uniquely suited to deliver a combination of “big firm” quality and “small firm” personal attention, Mr. Reeves delivers the same high quality work product he produced while an attorney with two of the nation’s largest and most respected law firms to every case handled by the firm (at much lower rates than one would find at a large firm).

Philosophy

We believe in being responsive to our clients, thinking strategically from the outset of a matter, being appropriately aggressive in litigating cases, being “firm but fair” with the opposition, producing high quality work product, and always being ready to try a case:

Responsive: In addition to returning phone calls and answering questions, we are responsive to our clients’ needs in terms of keeping in mind the goals of the client and the costs of litigation.

Thinking Strategically: Some attorneys approach a case on a “day to day” basis, reacting to the tactics of the opposition. We believe in preparing the case up front, thinking “long term” as to the best way to achieve the desired result, and being proactive.

Appropriately Aggressive: All lawyers should be zealous advocates and aggressive in representing the interests of their clients. Being overly aggressive, however, is often counterproductive, unnecessarily consuming attorney time and running up the bill.

Firm but Fair: Similarly, while it is always important to be firm with the opposition, fair dealing with everyone involved in a lawsuit greatly increases the chances of a successful result. Maintaining your credibility with the opposition and with the court (or an arbitrator, as the case may be) is absolutely essential.

High Quality Work Product: While many firms promise high quality work product, they often delegate assignments to junior attorneys and provide them with little to no supervision. Clients retaining the Law Offices of Rex T. Reeves will receive high quality work product either prepared by Mr. Reeves himself, or, in some cases, prepared under his direct supervision, with his direct input.

Ready to Try the Case: It is a reality that most cases settle, and, in fact, most cases should settle. However, the best settlements are achieved when the attorneys are ready to try the case. And, of course, if going to trial is necessary, it is critical that the attorney be not only ready to try the case, but have the skill and expertise necessary to do so.

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Background

Educational Background

Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island): Completing a double major in history and economics, Mr. Reeves graduated with highest honors from Brown University in 1985. In addition to being elected to Phi Beta Kappa and the Omicron Delta Epsilon economics honor society, Mr. Reeves was the 1985 recipient of the Herbert & Claiborne Pell Gold Medal, awarded by the Brown History Department to the school’s top student in American History.

Harvard Law School (Cambridge, Massachusetts): Mr. Reeves then moved 45 miles to the north to attend Harvard Law School. In addition to excelling in the classroom, Mr. Reeves participated extensively in the school’s clinical programs, both working at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and representing clients in the Boston Housing Court. He graduated from Harvard Law School, with honors, in 1988.

Professional Background

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher: After taking (and passing) the California bar exam in the summer of 1988, Mr. Reeves began his legal career in Los Angeles as a litigator at one of the world’s largest and most prestigious law firms, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

Kaye Scholer: Mr. Reeves then moved his practice to the Los Angeles office of New York-based Kaye Scholer Fierman Hays & Handler (now known as simply Kaye Scholer LLP), another of the world’s most prestigious law firms. While there, Mr. Reeves gained extensive trial experience, and was the co-director and, later, director of the firm’s in-house trial training program.

O’Donnell Reeves & Shaffer: In 1996, Mr. Reeves left Kaye Scholer to be a founding partner of the Los Angeles litigation boutique law firm, O’Donnell, Reeves & Shaffer LLP.

MulcahyReeves: Since moving his family to Orange County, Mr. Reeves has been a partner at MulcahyReeves LLP in Irvine, and has established the Law Offices of Rex T. Reeves (1997-2005, 2009-present). At MulcahyReeves, Mr. Reeves’ business litigation practice focused primarily on franchise and distribution litigation.

Law Offices of Rex T. Reeves: The Law Offices of Rex T. Reeves has handled a wide variety of civil litigation matters, with many of the matters involving very substantial claims that were successfully litigated against some of the largest law firms in the country.

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Description Of Practice

Scope of Practice

Types of Cases: Mr. Reeves' practice over the years has run the gamut of civil litigation matters. Since the mid-2000's, a significant portion of Mr. Reeves' practice has involved franchise law. In addition to handling litigation involving franchisors and/or franchisees from beginning to end, Mr. Reeves has counseled franchisors regarding their state and federally-mandated disclosure documents, has handled numerous terminations of franchisees, and has on many occasions taken steps short of litigation to enforce franchise agreements and prevent trademark infringement by former franchisees and others.

In addition to franchise and distribution matters, other matters handled by Mr. Reeves over the years have included a number of intellectual property (copyright, trademark, patent, breach of implied contract, and breach confidence) cases, many entertainment matters involving feature films and television programs, significant environmental litigation, products liability cases (including what was reported to be the largest in Orange County history), trade secret litigation, construction defect litigation, legal and accountant malpractice actions, malicious prosecution and similar actions, employment actions, first amendment matters (including successfully challenging the constitutionality of a California statute in federal court), defamation litigation, right of privacy/publicity litigation, disputes between motor vehicle dealers and manufacturers/distributors, real estate litigation (including representing brokers), RICO litigation, ADA litigation, ERISA litigation, landlord/tenant cases, and various other business litigation matters, as well as selected personal injury and wrongful death actions. Mr. Reeves has also prosecuted criminal matters through trial as a volunteer prosecutor in Los Angeles.

Resolution Short of Litigation: Depending on the situation, it often makes sense to attempt to enforce agreements, prevent unlawful conduct by opposing parties, or otherwise resolve disputes without litigation. Mr. Reeves’ 25-plus years of experience enables him to provide sound advice as to the best route to take, whether it be a firm cease-and-desist letter, a stern warning of impending litigation or response to threatened litigation, or a less aggressive approach designed to avoid an unnecessary escalation of the dispute.

Mediation: As mentioned above, most cases should and do settle. Often the key to settling a case is taking part in a formal mediation. Mediation is a non-binding procedure in which the parties to a lawsuit meet with a neutral mediator in an effort to resolve the parties’ claims. Able to tell the opposition credibly that he is ready, willing, and able to go to trial, Mr. Reeves has successfully represented clients in dozens of formal mediations.

Arbitration: Parties to a contract often agree that any future disputes between them will be resolved via binding arbitration. Arbitration is much like in-court litigation, except the parties usually have much more limited discovery rights than they would in court, the procedure is less formal than in-court litigation, and arbitration matters usually proceed to “trial” (usually called an arbitration hearing in the context of an arbitration) much more quickly than do cases in the court system. In theory, as a result, arbitration should be less expensive than in-court litigation. A neutral arbitrator (often a retired judge) oversees the proceeding, hearing evidence, making rulings, and issuing an award. Mr. Reeves has extensive experience with arbitration matters (before the American Arbitration Association, JAMS (formerly Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services), Judicate West, and Franchise Arbitration and Mediation Services (known as FAM)), including successfully defending against efforts to have courts overturn arbitration awards in favor of his clients.

In-Court Litigation:Despite the increasing use of arbitration as a way to resolve disputes, most commercial (and other) disputes continue to be litigated in the court system. (Indeed, even disputes that appear to be the subject of an agreement to arbitrate may be decided in court, either by agreement of the parties or because a court finds the agreement to arbitrate to be unenforceable. Mr. Reeves has extensive experience litigating the cutting edge legal issue of determining when an arbitration agreement will not be enforced.) As mentioned above and detailed below, Mr. Reeves has successfully handled a myriad of different types of lawsuits in the court system from start to finish over his long legal career. While Mr. Reeves' practice has been primarily in the federal and state courts in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, he has handled matters in multiple other jurisdictions.

Appeals: A verdict at the conclusion of a trial or a ruling by a trial judge disposing of a case during the pre-trial phase of a case does not mean that the case is over. In more and more cases, the losing party files an appeal. Mr. Reeves has experience successfully handling a number appeals in both the California Court of Appeal and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (most recently successfully arguing before the Second District of the California Court of Appeal in Los Angeles, upholding the right of franchisors to include provisions in their franchise agreements limiting the rights of franchisees to sue them on a class-wide or consolidated basis (after which Mr. Reeves obtained an award of attorneys' fees and costs on appeal in favor of his clients), and in the Fourth District of the California Court of Appeal in Santa Ana, upholding the dismissal of a malicious prosecution action brought against his clients (again, followed by an award of attorneys' fees and costs on appeal in his clients' favor)).

Media: A number of matters handled by Mr. Reeves have garnered media interest. His media appearances have included 60 Minutes, the Today Show, Good Morning America, the CBS Early Show, CNN Crossfire, CNN Talk Back Live, CNN Morning Edition, CNN Burden of Proof, CNBC On Trial, Rivera Live, E! Entertainment Television, and the MSNBC Abrams Report. In addition, Mr. Reeves appeared live worldwide on CNN when he successfully argued in court before Judge Lance Ito to compel the public release of sealed transcripts in the so-called “trial of the century,” People v. Simpson.

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Clients and Overview of Matters Handled

Clients

Mr. Reeves has represented dozens and dozens of clients large and small. In his franchise practice, he has provided legal services for franchisors KFC Corporation, LA Boxing Franchise Corporation, Taco Bell, Aussie Pet Mobile, IAG Coffee Franchise, Melt Franchising, and Mustard Franchise Corporation, as well as motor vehicle distributors American Suzuki, American Isuzu, and Kawasaki Motors Corp. U.S.A. Mr. Reeves has also provided legal services for such other large clients as Lockheed Martin, Pfizer, and Network Entertainment of Australia. In one extraordinary case, Mr. Reeves provided legal services for the French government, defending it when it was named in a civil suit filed in federal court in Los Angeles. At the other end of the spectrum, Mr. Reeves has represented numerous individuals and small businesses (including many franchisees) in various matters, often taking on well-financed large corporations (and the large firms hired to represented them) on their behalf.

Overview of Matters Handled

Franchise Litigation: Mr. Reeves has handled many franchise litigation matters from beginning to end. Typically, Mr. Reeves represents a franchisor who is dealing with one or more disgruntled franchisees. In even the most successful franchise systems, not all franchisees will be successful. Failed franchisees often make claims against their franchisors, alleging fraud and/or violations of the California Franchise Investment Law (or similar statutes of other states), among other causes of action. Mr. Reeves has defended many such cases, in both the federal and state courts and in arbitration.

In addition to defending franchisors, Mr. Reeves has litigated affirmative claims on behalf of franchisors against franchisees, such as claims for unpaid royalties, breaches of franchise agreements, trademark infringement, and claims based upon unauthorized purported terminations of franchises by franchisees (including de-branding). Mr. Reeves has on many occasions “turned the tables” on franchisees pursuing legal actions against his franchisor clients, by filing such affirmative claims when the facts so warrant.

Sometimes it is necessary for a franchisor to obtain immediate relief, for example to shut down a terminated franchisee and/or to prevent the unlawful use of a franchisor’s trademarks and other intellectual property, or to obtain possession of a franchise location per the terms of a franchise agreement. Litigating in both state and federal court, Mr. Reeves has successfully obtained TRO’s and/or preliminary injunctions for franchisors in such situations on multiple occasions.

Due to the nature of the franchisor/franchisee relationship, issues often arise in franchise litigation that one would not see in a typical lawsuit. Mr. Reeves stopped multiple franchisees from pursuing litigation against their franchisor on a consolidated or class-wide basis (and obtained an award of attorneys’ fees for the franchisor on appeal), obtained a TRO in federal court to stop a franchisee from suing a California franchisor in an Ohio state court, and on multiple occasions petitioned the courts to enforce arbitration provisions when franchisees have ignored them.

In addition to handling litigation involving franchisors and/or franchisees from beginning to end, Mr. Reeves has counseled franchisors regarding their state and federally-mandated disclosure documents, has drafted and served notices of defaults as well as termination notices to franchisees on numerous occasions, and has on many occasions taken steps short of litigation to enforce franchise agreements and prevent trademark infringement by former franchisees and others. Mr. Reeves has also handled the negotiation and documentation of dozens of agreements resolving disputes between franchisees and franchisors.

Finally, while Mr. Reeves has represented principally franchisors in franchise litigation, he has also represented a number of franchisees. In one high-profile case, Mr. Reeves prosecuted a claim by a franchisee against her franchisor, prevailing on a cutting edge issue regarding the enforceability of an arbitration provision. He also handled the appeal of trial court’s order in favor of the client.

Motor Vehicle Dealer Litigation: Mr. Reeves has handled a number of matters for motor vehicle dealers. Among them, he handled the appeal of a verdict in favor of motor vehicle distributor against a motor vehicle dealer, where the dealer had alleged that the distributor had wrongfully withheld consent to a transfer of the franchise and the distributor had countersued for fraud and unfair business practices. Mr. Reeves also handled the appeal of a verdict in favor of a motor vehicle distributor for trademark infringement (a verdict obtained after the dealer had initiated the litigation by suing for breach of contract). In another case, Mr. Reeves’s pre-trial motion led to the sudden settlement of what had been protracted litigation in federal court of claims by a motor vehicle dealer based upon the alleged wrongful termination of a dealership.

In addition to litigating motor vehicle matters in court, Mr. Reeves has defended a number of claims before the California New Motor Vehicle Board. In these matters, motor vehicle dealers have sued their manufacturers/distributors protesting the establishment of new dealerships, dealer relocations, and dealer terminations.

Intellectual Property: Mr. Reeves has handled many intellectual property lawsuits in both state and federal court. These cases have included litigation of claims of copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and patent infringement, as well as claims of breach of implied contract and breach confidence. As noted above, franchise litigation often involves intellectual property issues, especially trademark issues. Many of Mr. Reeves's intellectual property cases have involved feature films and television programs. Depending on the facts, these lawsuits typically involve claims of copyright infringement and/or claims for breach of implied contract and breach confidence (often in so-called "idea theft" cases). Among the many such cases handled by Mr. Reeves, he prosecuted such high-profile cases as a breach of implied contract/breach of confidence action against a television network regarding a well-known over-the-air television series, a copyright action against a major film studio regarding an incredibly successful feature film, and a copyright action against a major cable network regarding a well-known cable television series. Mr. Reeves has also successfully resolved multiple similar matters on a confidential basis prior to the filing of any court action.

Business Litigation in the Entertainment Context: In addition to entertainment litigation alleging infringement of intellectual property rights, Mr. Reeves has handled many cases with facts and issues that are specific to, or commonly litigated in the entertainment industry. Among them, Mr. Reeves prosecuted an action against a major studio regarding the appropriate writing credit on one of the largest grossing films of all time. He also defended claims against, and prosecuted a cross-claim on behalf of, an Australian entertainment company regarding motion picture funding and rights. Representing a film director, he prosecuted claims against a producer/studio in a contractual dispute regarding payments for services and film rights. In a series of cases in federal court, Mr. Reeves prosecuted several actions against national television networks for alleged unauthorized use of film footage. In another matter, Mr. Reeves prosecuted with co-counsel an action regarding a dispute over the financing of a series feature films. Mr. Reeves also prosecuted claims against a production company regarding a series of infomercials. Like other litigation, entertainment litigation sometimes occurs outside the courtroom. In one such case, Mr. Reeves defended a major Hollywood literary and talent agency embroiled in a contractual dispute with an actor, litigating the matter in a Screen Actor’s Guild arbitration.

Other Business Litigation: In addition to litigating business issues in the franchise, motor vehicle, and entertainment contexts, Mr. Reeves has represented clients in scores of other business litigation matters, including a number of matters that have proceeded all the way to trial. Mr. Reeves recently successfully defended a RICO action brought by a plaintiff alleging unfair business practices on the part of his client. Mr. Reeves also handled a large arbitration hearing/trial in which a business broker sued a well-known automobile dealer for payment of a significant commission on the sale of an auto dealership, and the dealer sued both the business broker and the broker of record for fraud, breach of contract and on multiple other theories. Mr. Reeves obtained an award of attorneys' fees and costs for the broker of record. In a matter that was tried before a jury in Los Angeles County, Mr. Reeves prosecuted a fraud claim on behalf of a restaurant owner against the seller of the restaurant and the business broker who brokered the sale. In another arbitration trial, Mr. Reeves defended against claims brought by member of an LLC against the LLC regarding the ownership of a popular restaurant in Orange County and the rights and duties of the members of the LLC. Mr. Reeves has also handled a number of actions involving employee or independent contractor disputes, including recently representing a salesperson for a large manufacturer in a high-stakes commission dispute.

Trade Secret Litigation: Often critical to the success of a business is the protection of its trade secrets and proprietary information. Mr. Reeves has represented clients in a number of matters involving trade secrets, including the protection of proprietary methods and processes, the protection of confidential pricing information, and the protection of customer lists and customer information. In one such case, Mr. Reeves defended against claims by a nationwide company that an upstart competitor had misappropriated proprietary customer lists and other information. After Mr. Reeves prevailed in a pre-trial hearing, the plaintiff dropped its case.

Defamation and First Amendment matters: Mr. Reeves has litigated multiple, sometimes high-profile matters focused on First Amendment issues. As noted above, Mr. Reeves argued in favor of the public release of sealed transcripts in the O.J. Simpson criminal trial in Los Angeles. In another high-profile case, Mr. Reeves had primary responsibility in a federal court action challenging the constitutionality of a California statute which purported to limit a publisher’s rights with respect to publications regarding an ongoing legal action. Not only did the court issue an injunction against enforcement of the statute, it also ordered the state to pay the publisher’s attorneys’ fees. Of course, free speech has its limits, and Mr. Reeves has litigated defamation and so-called “false light” matters as well. In one such case, he prosecuted in federal court a defamation action on behalf of a well-known author against a major book publisher and another author. In another case, he represented the owner of an historic structure in Hollywood against a television station when a report on the station suggested that the building was unsafe. Free speech is also limited by the copyright laws and similar laws, and Mr. Reeves has litigated a number of matters involving the issue of whether one person’s use of the work of another is permitted under the First Amendment as a so-called “fair use” of that work.

Right of Privacy/Publicity litigation: Mr. Reeves also has experience litigating rights of privacy and publicity. In one such matter, Mr. Reeves prosecuted a claim against a magazine publisher for violation of his clients’ right of publicity when they were featured in a magazine ad without their permission. Mr. Reeves also defended a right of publicity case brought against one of his clients where the plaintiff claimed that the use of her image and likeness were beyond the scope of a release she signed.

Real Estate-Related Litigation: Mr. Reeves has also litigated multiple real estate matters. He obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) in Orange County Superior Court (and later a preliminary injunction) stopping construction that was set to begin within hours in Newport Beach on the Balboa Peninsula, which construction would have allegedly impeded upon a neighboring landowner's prescriptive easement rights. Going back to his law school days and work in the Boston Housing Court, Mr. Reeves has litigated many landlord-tenant matters. He also represented a restaurant owner in two high-stakes lawsuits over the right to possession of a lucrative restaurant in the Palm Springs area, including successfully fending off efforts by the landlord to dispose of the case on summary judgment. Mr. Reeves has also represented an Orange County escrow company in an action brought by a home purchaser alleging wrongful conduct in connection with a residential loan. Some of the most complex real estate-related litigation is construction defect litigation. Usually there are many plaintiffs and many defendants, and the issues are highly technical in nature. In one such case, Mr. Reeves prosecuted with co-counsel a multi-party construction defect action regarding multiple upscale homes built in an Orange County tract.

Environmental Litigation: Some of Mr. Reeves’s largest and most complex cases have involved significant environmental litigation. Among them, he had primary responsibility for first coordinating the investigation to ascertain parties who were potentially responsible for certain groundwater contamination in Southern California, and then litigating the subsequent prosecution of a CERCLA contribution action on behalf of a client named by the United States government as the primary responsible party for the massive groundwater clean-up. In another case, Mr. Reeves had primary responsibility for the prosecution of an action on behalf of a major oil company for the recovery of clean-up costs from the prior owners of an oil refinery in Central California. Mr. Reeves has also handled matters before the California Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Legal and Accountant Malpractice Actions and Malicious Prosecution: Mr. Reeves has litigated several professional malpractice actions. Among them, he prosecuted an accountant malpractice action against a well-known accounting firm, as well as a claim for professional negligence against a professional accommodator in connection with a 1031 exchange. Mr. Reeves also has experience defending legal malpractice actions on behalf of others in the legal profession. In recent years, Mr. Reeves has defended a number of attorneys sued for alleged malicious prosecution and related claims. In each case, the case was terminated following Mr. Reeves' filing of a comprehensive anti-SLAPP motion. In one of these cases, in which Mr. Reeves represented a well-known Orange County law firm, Mr. Reeves not only won in the trial court, but also prevailed in the California Court of Appeal and in connection with the plaintiffs' petition to the California Supreme Court. In this same case, Mr. Reeves secured awards of attorneys' fees in favor of his clients which exceeded $190,000.

Products Liability, Wrongful Death and Personal Injury: While the majority of his practice has involved business litigation, Mr. Reeves has also litigated significant lawsuits that fall outside the boundaries of traditional business litigation. Perhaps most gut-wrenching have been two wrongful death actions. Mr. Reeves also has significant experience with products liability actions. In what was reported to be the largest products liability matter in Orange County history, Mr. Reeves had primary responsibility for numerous aspects of the defense of claims of defective heart valves in multiple cases, including in a highly-publicized jury trial in Orange County Superior Court.

Particularly unique litigation matters: Mr. Reeves has handled a number of unusual matters which many attorneys would decline to handle because they are typically handled by specialists in those areas of the law. In a matter involving admiralty law, Mr. Reeves was retained by a well-known Orange County law firm that had been handling a state-court wrongful death action when the defendant (represented by a large San Diego firm specializing in admiralty law) attempted to avoid almost all liability by filing an action in federal court invoking the federal Shipowners' Limitation of Liability Act (a mid-1800's, anachronistic federal law that limits the liability of shipowners in certain circumstances for injuries occurring on the navigable waters of the United States). Mr. Reeves prevailed, thereby allowing the plaintiffs to proceed with their wrongful death action in state court with no limit on damages. Mr. Reeves also recently represented a badly-injured insured being sued in federal court by his medical plan in an ERISA action, defending against the medical plan's efforts to recover reimbursement for medical costs out of moneys that had been paid to the injured insured as part of a settlement. In another highly unusual case, Mr. Reeves had primary responsibility for the successful defense of the French government in an action brought by persons protesting actions of the government, with the case turning on a determination by the federal court that the claims were barred by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

Criminal matters: Mr. Reeves has also prosecuted four jury trials and one bench trial to guilty verdicts in Los Angeles County.

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Disclaimer

This website is for general information only, and nothing in this website should be construed as providing any legal advice with respect to any legal issues. Please be further advised that no attorney-client relationship has been established with any person visiting this website (or anyone else for that matter) by virtue of someone having visited this website. The Law Offices of Rex T. Reeves ("LORTR") shall have no attorney-client relationship with any prospective client, and represents no prospective client, unless and until (i) a written engagement agreement is executed by both the prospective client and LORTR, and (ii) all conditions of the prospective engagement set forth in the engagement letter have been satisfied. In addition, LORTR does not make any promises or guarantees as to the outcome or success of any matter. Nothing in this website should be construed as making such a promise or guarantee. Thank you for visiting our website. We invite you to call us to discuss the specifics of your potential matter.

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