Case Studies - Litigation
$1.6 Million Verdict for F
A Washington-area businessman sold his small company to the defendant, a significantly larger business. The defendant agreed to employ the former owner for several years at a relatively modest salary supplemented by annual bonuses based upon the performance of the business he had owned, now a unit of the larger company. The defendant fired the former business owner fewer than two months after the acquisition, claiming the employee had directed subordinates to violate state environmental laws. One of our litigation attorneys represented the former business owner in his suit for breach of contract and wrongful termination and won a jury verdict for $1.6 million. [The case was No. DKC-97 2914 in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.]
Five-Year Case, Two-Month Trial, Five-Hour Jury Verdict; Successful Defense of $15 Million Fraud Against Corporate Officer
Our client was an officer of a very successful life insurance business which he had founded. An insurance brokerage owned by our client’s brother sued our client, claiming that he and his company had committed fraud and other wrongful acts by underpaying and failing to pay commissions on life insurance policies placed through our client’s life insurance business.
The complicated case took five years to get to trial. The trial lasted two months and involved the presentation of more than 50 witnesses and hundreds of exhibits. The plaintiff claimed its damages exceeded $15 million dollars and it asked the jury to award the damages against both our client and the insurance business he had founded.
Because of the volume of evidence presented and the complexity of the case, closing arguments were spread over two days. After less than five hours of deliberations, however, the jury announced its verdict: for the defense. [The case was No. 236402-V in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland.]
Recovery of $600,000 for Bad Tax Advice
Our client, a local family, relied upon their long-time tax advisor to prepare returns for their family business. The IRS audited the family’s returns and concluded that they had utilized an illegitimate tax shelter to reduce taxes, resulting in the imposition of substantial interest and penalties in addition to the payment of taxes which should have been paid several years earlier. Our litigation attorneys filed a lawsuit against the family’s tax advisor and eventually obtained a settlement in which the tax advisor paid the family more than $600,000.
Successful pursuit of injunction against corporate issuer of Bonds; Financial insurer obtains security resulting in $25 Million in insured Bonds being paid at maturity
The client, a financial insurer, guaranteed that it would pay principal and interest on $25 million of corporate bonds if the issuing corporation defaulted. The corporation, which was in dire financial straits, amended the indenture under which it issued the insured bonds in order to strip away restrictive covenants protecting the bondholders—and the client—in order to pay millions to shareholders (through stock dividends and redemptions) ahead of the bondholders, regardless of the corporation’s financial health. On behalf of the insurer, one of our attorneys filed suit in federal court to enjoin the corporation from paying equity ahead of debt, which endangered payment of the bonds at maturity. The court consolidated a preliminary injunction hearing with a hearing on the merits, and expedited trial. After a week of trial, the judge agreed with the client that the corporation’s attempt to amend the bond indenture was improper and that the corporation should seriously consider settling before he formally ruled—which it did, on terms that resulted in the insured bonds being paid in full at maturity. [The case was No. 01 Civ. 3822 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.]
Successful Defense of a Breach of Contract Claim and Recovery of $647,000
Our client, the nation’s largest provider of services to the credit counseling industry, was locked in a seemingly intractable dispute with a customer who insisted our client had breached their contract and owed the customer damages of over $1,000,000. We recommended a more aggressive approach and filed for arbitration against the customer. Following a three-day hearing, the arbitrator denied the customer’s claims in their entirety – and awarded our client damages of $647,000 for the customer’s contract breaches. [The case was AAA Case No. 16 Y 181 00463 053.]
$213,000 Recovery for Heirs
An elderly woman died with a will leaving her house “and its contents” to her brother with other siblings sharing the remainder of her estate. At the time she died, all of the woman’s accounts had been liquidated and she had cash – possibly as much as $200,000 – in her home. Following her death, the brother took possession of the house and kept the cash as “contents” of the house. We represented the other siblings in a suit to recover the cash. In a case of first impression in the District of Columbia, the court found after a trial that a bequest of a house “and its contents” does not convey money in the house at the time of death. The brother was required to pay the estate the value of the cash. [The case was Case No. No. 206-97 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.]
$385,000 Verdict for Corporation against Unfaithful Employee
A Florida-based meeting and convention planner hired the defendant to open a Washington, D.C. office for the firm and made him a vice president of the corporation. The defendant decided to start his own business and induced several company clients to give him their business. One of our litigation attorneys represented the meeting and convention planner in its suit for breach of fiduciary duty, interference with contract, and other business torts and won a jury verdict for $385,000, including $75,000 in punitive damages. [The case was No. 00-CV-1825 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.]
$300,000 Recovery from Owner of Stolen Car
Our client was injured when her car was struck by a speeding stolen car. The thieves fled, but the stolen car’s owner arrived at the accident scene soon after the collision, raising the suspicion that he had been chasing the stolen vehicle. We sued the owner of the stolen car, who denied that there had been a chase and swore under oath that he had come upon the accident by happenstance. By checking 911 call records, we were able to show multiple reports of a high-speed chase in the area prior to the accident. Faced with this evidence, the defendant’s insurer settled for the $300,000 policy limits prior to trial. [The case was No. 03-00024 in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, Maryland.]
Client Recovers over $2 Million in Losses from Insurers
The client, a landowner that had owned and operated an electronics plant, incurred significant environmental liabilities due to its manufacturing practices in the 1950s and 60s. When the client’s insurers denied coverage for the costs of environmental cleanup, our attorney filed suit to recover the client’s environmental losses, in excess of $2 million dollars. The client recouped most of the cost of its environmental liabilities, in a practice area where recoveries are often less than half of the loss. [The case was No. 396CV01189 in the Unites States District Court for the District of Connecticut.]
Grant of Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction; Federal Agency Rules Requiring Disclosure of Confidential Business Information Declared Void
With only five days’ notice, one of our attorneys filed suit on behalf of a corporate client against a federal agency, seeking emergency relief. After hearing our attorney’s emergency motion the day after filing suit, a federal district court granted a temporary restraining order against the agency’s release of the client’s confidential business information, which would have irreparably harmed the client by giving others in the same industry a significant competitive advantage. Our attorney subsequently filed for summary judgment on grounds that the federal regulations requiring the release of the client’s confidential information were void, due to their being beyond the agency’s rulemaking authority. The court agreed, ruling that the agency had acted outside its statutory authority, relieving the client of any future need to disclose the confidential information at issue. [The case was No. 1:01CV01976 in the Unites States District Court for the District of Columbia.]