Palowsky v. Ouachita National Bank
Lender Liability – Wrongful Seizure
Our client, Palowsky, alleged that Ouachita National Bank had illegally seized his stock portfolio. Suit was filed in the Fourth Judicial District Court. Palowsky alleged that a bank officer obtained his signature on a guaranty through extortion. The extortion had been proven in a separate proceeding. After a lengthy trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Palowsky. The Judgment, which included judicial interest, totaled $42.5 million. The parties reached a confidential settlement shortly after the jury verdict was rendered.
Result: $42.5 million Judgment* – Confidential Settlement
The Rhodes Co. v. Citizens Utilities
Anti-Trust – Class Action
In this class action lawsuit, we represented The Rhodes Company and other parties similarly situated. Suit was filed in the Twenty-Fourth Judicial District Court. It was alleged that the defendant had engaged in concerted action or a conspiracy with a subsidiary company to illegally fix the price of gas. The Public Service Commission intervened. The defendant entered into a settlement which required it to reimburse rate payers $27.5 million. Additionally, the trial court approved $2 million for attorney fees.
Result: $27.5 million Settlement
Crowe v. People’s Homestead
In this racketeering case, our client claimed that he had been defrauded by an officer and bank board member of People’s Homestead with reference to a partnership agreement and related loan agreement. After investigation, we believed the wrongful conduct rose to the level of racketeering activity under the Federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act. Suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. After a jury trial, the trial court entered a Judgment in favor of our client in the amount of $25.5 million.
Result: $25.5 million Judgment* – Confidential Settlement
Monroe Surgical Hospital v. St. Francis Medical Center
Anti-Trust, Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Our client, Monroe Surgical Hospital alleged that one of its competitors, St. Francis, entered into a conspiracy to restrain trade in the full-service hospital market in Northeast Louisiana. It was alleged that the concerted action took place between St. Francis, its Chief Executive Officer and another officer who also sat on MSH’s board.
Plaintiff retained renowned anti-trust economist, Frank Gollop of Boston, MA, to prepare an anti-trust and damage analysis. According to Dr. Gollop’s analysis, Monroe Surgical Hospital sustained damages in the amount of $30 million. Under the Louisiana anti-trust statute, that baseline damage would be tripled to $90 million. After computing accumulated judicial interest and attorney fees, it was estimated that St. Francis’ total exposure was in excess of $150 million. A good synopsis of the facts of the case and the legal principles to be applied is found at 147 So.3d 1234. In that published opinion, the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal cleared the way for the case to proceed to jury trial. It should be noted that the anti-trust cause of action occurred before the Louisiana Legislature adopted the federal Copperweld doctrine.
Result: Confidential Settlement
Joyner v. Liprie
Breach of Contract – Fraud – Breach of Fiduciary Duty
In this case, our client, Dr. Joyner entered into an oral contract with the defendant for the development and sale of certain medical technology and devices. According to Dr. Joyner, he performed his obligations under the contract by arranging for medical testing and analyzing the test results which were published in a prestigious medical journal. Dr. Joyner alleged that his partner defrauded him by selling the medical technology in question without paying Dr. Joyner his rightful share of the proceeds. Suit was filed in the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Ouachita. A jury verdict was returned in favor of Dr. Joyner. Subsequently, the trial court awarded Dr. Joyner an additional 40% as attorney fees. The Judgment was subsequently affirmed by the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal. As a result, Dr. Joyner received a Judgment in his favor in the aggregate amount of $9.2 million, including interest and attorney fees.
Subsequently, it was learned that the defendant placed the disputed funds into a trust. Deutsch Bank was sued as the trustee. Suit was filed in the Thirty-Eighth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Cameron but was removed to United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District. The District Court remanded the matter to state court and an excellent synopsis of the litigation is contained in that reported opinion, 485 B.R. 538. A settlement was reached shortly thereafter in the amount of $9 million.
Result: $9.2 million Judgment**
Willett Trust v. Albritton
Breach of Trust
In this action, we represented the heirs to a trust. It was alleged that the trustee (the bank) committed a breach of trust when it sold certain properties out of the trust to insiders for a fraction of the true value of the property. Prior to trial, a settlement agreement totaling $6 million was reached.
Result: $6 million Settlement
Hollybrook Cottonseed Processing, LLC v. Carver
Redhibition (Defective Product)
Our client, Hollybrook Cottonseed Processing, alleged that it sustained substantial damage when its cottonseed processing plant was shut down because of defective equipment manufactured and supplied by one of the defendants. After two lengthy jury trials, a final Judgment was entered in favor of Hollybrook and against the defendants’ insurer for $6 million. The District Court found that Hollybrook’s claim for attorney fees was not a covered loss under the policy. The matter proceeded to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal. In a published opinion, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the jury verdict but reversed the ruling of the District Court , and ruled that plaintiff’s claim for attorney fees was a covered loss under the defendant’s insurance policy. The matter was remanded to the District Court to determine an award for attorney fees. The opinion is reported at 772 F.3d 1031.
On remand, and subsequent appeal, the U.S. Fifth Circuit reversed the district court’s award of $757,940 in attorney fees and entered an award to Hollybrook for reasonable attorney fees in the amount of $1,714,940. In making its award the Fifth Circuit made the following observation: “The facts were complicated and highly contested. The two attorneys representing Hollybrook have practiced since 1977 and 1987 respectively and have handled numerous jury trials throughout their careers. The ‘ultimate result’ was a total vindication of Hollybrook’s suit: the jury found damages to exceed $6 million, and Hollybrook has actually recovered over $5 million.” 662 Fed. Appx 282 at 287.
Result: $6 million Jury Verdict and Judgment
Gailliard Gin v. LP&L
Breach of Contract
Our client, Gailliard Gin, alleged that LP&L had improperly sized the electrical service drop to its cotton gin. As a result, the gin suffered a catastrophic failure resulting in about $100,000 in property damage. After having an electrical engineer review the case, it appeared that the gin had been suffering from a chronic shortage of electricity for numerous years because of the alleged electrically defective service drop. For the past 20 years, the loss in production was calculated at $4 million. A jury trial was held in the 6th Judicial District Court for the Parish of East Carroll and a jury verdict was returned in the amount of $4 million. On appeal, the Second Circuit Court of Appeal reduced the damages to $2 million (restricting damages to 10 years). With accumulated judicial interest, the Judgment was paid in an amount over $3 million.
Result: $4 million Judgement (Reduced to $2 million on Appeal)
JRL Enterprises v. Bachmann
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
In this action our client, JRL Enterprises, alleged the defendant, a member of the Board of Directors of JRL Enterprises, had engaged in acts constituting a breach of fiduciary duty. It was alleged that the defendant worked in concert with plaintiff’s lender in its attempt to take control of the corporation and, in doing so, caused damages.
Result: $3.575 million Settlement
National Building v. Bank One
Our client, National Building, was a construction company engaged to build condominiums in Madisonville, LA. The client alleged that it entered into an agreement with the lender that funds would not be distributed from the construction loan without the client’s permission. The client alleged that substantial funds were released without the client’s permission. After a trial, the court found in favor of our client. The Judgment, with accrued interest, exceeded $3 million.
Result: $3 million Judgment*
Hess Construction v. Chapel Hill
Breach of Contract
Our client, Hess Construction Company, entered into a contract with Chapel Hill to screen gravel at a gravel pit located in South Louisiana. Hess Construction alleged that Chapel Hill breached its contract by terminating Hess’ services. Chapel Hill countered that Hess Construction had breached its contract which caused Chapel Hill substantial damages. Suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. A jury verdict in favor of Hess Construction was rendered in the amount of $1.4 million. The Judgment was affirmed on appeal.
Result: $1.4 million Judgment
JRL Enterprises v. Procorp Associates
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
In this case our client, JRL Enterprises, alleged that the defendant breached its fiduciary duty to the plaintiff in the manner in which it executed its contract to provide personnel management services. It was alleged that the defendant engaged in a concerted action in connection with others to assist in the unlawful takeover of the corporation. Suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. After a jury trial, a verdict and Judgment were entered in the amount of $1.5 million. The Judgment was paid by the defendant.
Result: $1.8 million Judgment*
Fordoche v. Texaco
Breach of Oilfield Joint Operating Agreement
Our client was a party to numerous oilfield joint operating agreements related to a large field in Louisiana. Texaco was the majority participant in all of the JOAs. It was alleged that when Texaco sold its interest in the field, it failed to honor the right of first refusal clause in each of the JOAs. Suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. After substantial discovery, Texaco moved for a summary judgment which was granted by the District Court. On Appeal, the U.S. Fifth Circuit reversed the Judgment and in its opinion suggested strongly that summary judgment should be granted to the plaintiff. We argued that our client was entitled to all of the oil and gas profits from the time the right of first refusal should have been granted and also to all future loss profits from Texaco’s interest. The Fifth Circuit opinion is reported at 463 F.3d 388. After the Fifth Circuit opinion was rendered, the parties entered in to a confidential settlement.
Result: Confidential Settlement
Personal Injury Litigation
Rodriguez v. Louisiana Medical Mutual
Death of a nine-month old. 24th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Jefferson. 620 So.2d 335.
Result: $1.3 million Jury Verdict
Stowe v. Gulf States Utilities
Pipeline Explosion. 13th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Evangeline.
Result: $1.5 million Settlement
Little v. Boston Scientific
Paralysis and Disability – Products Liability Action for Defective Medical Device
24th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Jefferson. 8 So.3d 591
Result: Confidential Settlement
DiStefano v. Otis Elevator
Negligence Action for Faulty Maintenance of Defective Elevator that Caused Injury
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Result: $407,396 Jury Award
*Includes Accumulated Judicial Interest
**Includes Accumulated Interest & Awarded Attorney Fees