Representative Business Dispute Cases

Fraud And Embezzlement By A Company Ceo

Michael Mihm represented a private equity fund who sued the former CEO of one of its companies, along with the CEO’s spouse and brother, for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and embezzlement. After a 10-day trial, during which the defendants filed bankruptcy, a state court jury in Fort Worth, Texas, found the defendants liable for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion and civil conspiracy, and awarded damages of $632,000 to our client; the trial court later awarded attorney fees and costs, and other relief. International Beauty Products, LLC vs. Garth Beveridge, Dinah Beveridge and Craig Beveridge, District Court for Tarrant County Texas, 48th Judicial District.

Later, after a second bench trial, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court denied the defendants’ discharge in bankruptcy and entered a non-dischargeable judgment of $554,000 against the former CEO, plus substantial other relief. International Beauty Products, LLC vs. Garth Beveridge, Dinah Beveridge, and Carey Ebert, Trustee, Adv. No. 08-04096, United States Bankruptcy Court for the North District of Texas.

Minority Owner Squeezed Out Of Start-Up Company - $3.45 Million Settlement – Utah (Plaintiff)

Elizabeth Hyatt and Michael Mihm represented our clients, investors in a start-up business that had grown to more than $1 billion in annual sales in less than 5 years, in a lawsuit alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, securities fraud and other claims. The defendants, the company and its senior management, had squeezed out our clients from the business. We settled the case for $3,450,000 shortly before trial. U.S. District Court, District of Utah.

Steel Manfacturer Recovers $12.5 Million Verdict Against Electric Utility – Nebraska (Plaintiff)

When a client steel company discovered that its electric utility had overcharged it for its electricity usage. Murray Ogborn sued on behalf of the aggrieved company, recovering $12.5 million after a six-week jury trial in the Nebraska Federal District. Nucor Steel v. Nebraska Public Power District, U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska.

Ranch Owners Obtain $1.57 Million Verdict Against Real Estate Broker For Fraud In Sale Of A Family Ranch – South Dakota (Plaintiff)

A South Dakota real estate agent and financial advisor representing an elderly couple talked them into rejecting a number of qualified offers for a large ranch the couple owned. Instead, the agent had the couple sell the ranch to the agent for approximately half the amount that had been offered by other potential purchasers. Mike Ogborn and Murray Ogborn presented the case to a jury in Burke, South Dakota and received a verdict in favor of the clients in the amount of $1,568,200. Part of that award has been overturned on appeal and the punitive damages will be retried in 2014. Bailey v. Duling, 827 N.W.2d 351 (S.D. 2013).

Oil And Gas Litigation – Bakken Oil Fields (Defense)

When a Fortune 100 oil company was sued in Denver District Court in a dispute arising out of its $1 billion purchase of hundreds of oil leases in the North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields, the plaintiff sought damages of hundreds of millions of dollars. Betsy Hyatt served as local counsel for the national trial firm Susman Godfrey, LLP. Betsy was intimately involved in all phases of the case, which settled shortly before trial.

Medical Device Manufacturer Recovers Confidential Settlement Against Insurer (Plaintiff)

A medical device manufacturer represented by the Firm was facing a number of mass tort products liability lawsuits and relied upon its insurance company to defend and provide settlements when appropriate to plaintiffs. The insurance company failed to perform as it should have and the Firm sued the insurer for bad faith. The case involved hundreds of thousands of documents and the team at Ogborn Mihm, LLP was able to obtain a significant confidential settlement for the client.

Director Recovers $700,000 Verdict Against Non-Profit (Plaintiff)

When the Director of a non-profit organization was defamed and wrongfully terminated from the Board, despite a sizable donation to allow the non-profit to begin construction on a new facility, Mike Ogborn filed suit for wrongful discharge and defamation. The jury found that the nonprofit Butterfly Pavilion breached a contract with its founder/Director and defamed his character. The jury awarded the Director $400,000 for the breach of contract and $150,000 for defamation of character. The jury also awarded $150,000 in punitive damages, finding that he was defamed with malice. Weissmann v. Butterfly Pavilion.

Business Owner Defends Against Claims Of Former Business Partner – Arbitration (Defendant)

A managing partner of a small business resigned after just over a year in business because it was not profitable. The remaining partner paid to keep the business going and took over management of the business. When the business started to be profitable, the partner that resigned returned to allege the remaining partner had mismanaged the business thereby causing losses of over a million dollars. The case was tried in arbitration and no monetary damages were awarded to the partner who resigned and sued.

Owner Of 8,600-Acre Ranch Recovers $12.8 Milion Against Law Firm For Mishandling Subdivision Application– Utah (Plaintiff)

After the Utah office of a large national law firm mishandled a client’s subdivision application for an 8,600-acre ranch near Park City, Utah, causing the client to lose 40% of its valuable density rights, Michael Mihm, Mike Ogborn, Elizabeth Hyatt and Anna Martinez were the trial team that obtained one of the largest legal malpractice jury verdicts in recent U.S. history. The jury awarded all of the $21.36 million that we requested at trial, but assessed 40% comparative fault against the client, thus reducing the award to $12.8 million. The trial court recently awarded an additional $1.46 million for prejudgment interest. 910 Cattle Company v. Stoel Rives, LLP, Case No. Civil No. 100907407, Third District Court, Salt Lake County, Utah.

Real Estate Developer Recovers $983,00o Arbitration Award Against Self-Dealing Manager (Plaintiff)

Michael Mihm and Elizabeth Hyatt represented a real estate development company in a breach of fiduciary lawsuit against the company’s manager and obtained a judgment of $983,000. The arbitrator awarded damages of $509,000 and costs of $104,000 against the manager, plus other remedies. The trial court later confirmed the arbitration awarded and entered judgment against the manager for an additional $179,000 in prejudgment interest and $191,000 in post-judgment interest. Florado Partners, LLC v. Ronald Gollehon, et al., Case No. 2005CV137, District Court, City and County of Denver, Colorado.

General Counsel Defends Against Securities Fraud Claim (Defense)

When general counsel for a CB radio manufacturing company was sued personally for securities fraud by the company’s lender for allegedly failing to disclose material information, Murray Ogborn tried the case before the Nebraska Federal District Court bench. He succeeded in defeating the claim, and warding of millions of dollars in alleged damages. Prudential Insurance Company v. Thompson, et al.

Victim Of Consumer Fraud And Unfair Trade Practices Obtains Settlement For Fraudulent Medical Examination (Plaintiff)

Michael Mihm represented clients in fraud and unfair trade practices lawsuit against a company that arranges independent medical examinations for the insurance industry. Relying on the "whistle blower" testimony of the company's former employees, we established that the defendant company had fabricated a medical expert witness opinion in a related personal injury lawsuit, to the detriment of our clients, and had routinely altered medical expert witness reports in other cases. The case settled for a confidential amount shortly before trial. District Court, City and County of Denver, Colorado.

Executive Placement Company Defends Against Claims That A Ceo Embezzled (Defense)

Michael Mihm represented a Colorado employment agency that placed a Chief Financial Officer in a construction company. The employee later embezzled from the company, was convicted and sent to prison. The plaintiffs accused the defendant of not conducting a sufficiently thorough background investigation. After a 6-day trial, the jury found in favor of Michael's client. District Court, El Paso County, Colorado.

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