Business Contract and Tort Litigation
OGGUSA, Inc. (f/k/a GenCanna Global USA, Inc.), et al. v. Southern Tier Hemp, LLC (Bankr. E.D. Ky. 2021): Part of SKO team that achieved negotiated resolution for corporate defendant in multi-million-dollar business tort and contract action involving complex questions about jurisdictional limits
Breach of Contract Prosecution
Successfully prosecuted claims of claims of breach of contract, negligence, gross negligence, negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, and fraudulent misrepresentation arising out of the defendant’s failure to file business tax returns over the course of several years.
Reversal of Jury Verdict
SKO successfully obtained a renewed judgment as a matter of law, which resulted in a complete reversal of a jury verdict in excess of $100,000 in a breach of contract action in federal court
Limited Liability Company Summary Judgment in Breach of Duty
Obtained dismissal in federal district court for our publicly held, NYSE-MKT listed client on the grounds that a publicly held corporation owes no duty to monitor or control the purchase, sale, transfer, or exchange of its common stock. Derby Capital, LLC v. General Employment Enterprises, Inc., No. 3:12-cv-00850, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73684 (W.D. Ky. May 24, 2013).
Lead counsel for plaintiff in injunction action regarding violation of non-compete and theft of trade secrets. After hearing, federal court issued injunction barring former employee from continuing to violate non-compete and enjoining any dissemination of trade secrets.
Lead counsel representing trucking company regarding enforceability of arbitration provision in contract. Specifically, the question was whether a claim of fraudulent inducement to enter into a contract is subject to an arbitration clause that was contained within the contract. The trial court and court of appeals ruled against our client. On appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court, however, that Court reversed and remanded, resulting in a victory for our client. Louisville Peterbilt, Inc. v. Cox, 132 S.W.3d 850 (Ky. 2004).
Insider Trading Cases
Lead counsel in alleged insider trading cases brought by Securities and Exchange Commission. Claims involved alleged “tipper” and “tippee” liability relating to the purchase of stocks. Successfully negotiated settlement with SEC to satisfaction of clients. Securities and Exchange Commission v. Somers, et al., Case No. 3:11-cv-00165-JGH; In the Matter of Monster Beverage Company, LA-4500.
Class Action Claims Against Cemetery for Improper Practices
Lead counsel representing a putative class of individuals with relatives buried in a cemetery, asserting claims against numerous former and current owners of the cemetery for improper burial practices. The case was pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, and was ultimately settled.
Defending and Prosecuting Class Action Lawsuits
SKO was successful in multiple class action litigations on both the plaintiff and defense side. SKO oversaw multiple complex settlements with multi-thousand class member cases. SKO's class action clients have included a national insurance carrier, a national environmental consulting service, consumers defrauded by unfair commercial practices, a regional home builder, and national agriculture companies.
In this niche area of the Business Litigation practice, SKO attorneys represent companies and owners in disputes concerning fiduciary claims and business relationship breakups. A highlight for SKO is our firm’s role in creating a new law in Kentucky, after securing an opinion from the Kentucky Court of Appeals declaring that shareholders in closely held companies do not owe one another fiduciary duties as shareholders. SKO attorneys have also overseen and litigated numerous law firm dissolutions, as well as cases involving corporate embezzlement and the separation of owners from businesses.
SKO’s team of nationally recognized litigators has handled a number of derivative actions, typically on behalf of the company. Our team represented Kentucky Retirement Systems in a significant derivative action involving investments and fiduciary operations. SKO attorneys have also represented large and small companies in claims brought by shareholders or members related to corporate governance and fiduciary obligations.
Limited Partnership Litigation
Successfully represented limited partner in recovering in excess of $1 million from general partner under limited partnership guaranty agreement related to inferior investment performance.
Staxx is Eat BBQ LLC, et al. v. Thomas Walters, Case No. 12-71-GFVT (E.D. Ky.)
Represented Staxx BBQ, a central Kentucky restaurant, in a trademark infringement case against a former employee who alleged an ownership interest in the restaurant and trademarks. SKO obtained a preliminary injunction after a contested evidentiary hearing and the case settled.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
James D. Duff v. David A. Duff et al., Case No. 04-345-USF (E.D. Ky.)
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of executor/trustee in a breach of fiduciary lawsuit by beneficiaries of an estate/trust where the ownership of a coal company was at issue.
Abuse of Power of Attorney & Joint Account
SKO successfully represented a trust company appointed as conservator for an individual diagnosed with dementia who had millions of dollars taken from him by his attorney-in-fact (power of attorney) who also fraudulently created joint survivorship accounts. The individual also generated a will in his favor. SKO successfully voided the will and recovered more than $16 million in assets.
Rights of Nonprofit Members to Inspect Corporate Records
SKO represented certain members of a Kentucky nonprofit equine corporation in litigation against the nonprofit. When “significant deficiencies” were identified in the nonprofit’s $2 million annual budget, the organization refused to produce accounting records to the members who requested them. SKO obtained a summary judgment on behalf of its clients and defeated nonprofit’s motion for a stay of the judgment pending appeal. SKO also established that the nonprofit destroyed records, computer hard drives and backup servers during the pendency of the litigation. The Fayette Circuit Court held the nonprofit in contempt and ordered it to pay SKO’s fees. The nonprofit sought relief in the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Following the conclusion of the briefing by both parties, the nonprofit agreed to dismiss its appeals and to comply with the judgments entered in the Fayette Circuit Court action. This was a case of first impression in Kentucky. The Court held that, under Kentucky law, all Kentucky nonprofit corporations must allow their members to inspect and copy all of the corporation’s books and records.
SKO’s client was one of several defendants sued by a group of disappointed investors alleging securities law violations. SKO mounted an aggressive defense, and while the plaintiffs settled with other defendants, they agreed to simply dismiss their claims against SKO’s client.
Distributorship Agreement; Substantial & Common Law Damages
SKO represented an international manufacturer of construction equipment in a lawsuit concerning a challenge by a distributor to a termination of a distributorship agreement and claims for substantial statutory and common law damages as well as injunctive relief to require rescission of the termination. At the outset of the dispute, SKO was successful in having an action filed by the distributor dismissed and allowing the litigation to proceed in federal court in Kentucky. SKO later obtained a summary judgment ruling in the manufacturer’s favor on all counts. This federal action involved potential major implications for the manufacturer and its relationship with its distributors around the world.
Latter-Day Saints v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Civil Action No. 98-CI-1888 19 (Fayette Circuit Court). Obtained ruling that Board of Adjustment violated Equal Protection, Free Exercise and Due Process rights of church and violated 42 U.S.C. 1983 by denying conditional use permit; case settled.