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Business Torts

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OVERVIEW

Stoll Keenon Ogden’s Business Torts practice has experience representing clients defending and prosecuting the numerous torts involving businesses throughout the U.S. We have an extensive group of experienced, knowledgeable and dedicated trial lawyers and staff who can successfully handle business torts matters.

Our lawyers represent clients at all stages of litigation, with particular emphasis on complex litigation. We also recognize that litigation and trials can be expensive and place unwanted burdens on our clients. Therefore, while we regularly try cases, our lawyers are also skilled in appropriate cost-effective dispute resolution, such as mediation and arbitration.

SKO’s Business Torts practice has experience in the following areas:

  • Abuse of power
  • Bad faith
  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty/Directors and Officers Liability
  • Breach of contract
  • Civil conspiracy and conspiracy to induce breach of contract
  • Civil RICO
  • Constructive trust
  • Conversion
  • Co-mingling of funds
  • Equitable accounting
  • Employment torts (wrongful discharge; negligent hiring/retention/supervision; harassment; intentional infliction of emotional distress; and discrimination)
  • Fraud and fraud in the inducement
  • Injurious falsehood
  • Interference with contractual relations
  • Interference with employment or prospective economic advantage
  • Lender liability
  • Libel and slander; defamation
  • Loss of business opportunities
  • Misappropriation of trade secrets and confidential information
  • Nondisclosure and concealment
  • Noncompetition agreements
  • Negligence and negligent misrepresentation
  • Nuisance
  • Partnership disputes and shareholder litigation
  • Piercing the corporate veil
  • Promissory estoppel
  • Securities, securities fraud and insider trading
  • Shareholder and derivative actions
  • Tortious interference
  • Trade libel or disparagement
  • Trademark infringement and trade name infringement
  • Trade secrets
  • Unfair competition and trade practices
  • Unjust enrichment

Work Highlights

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.

Trademark Infringement

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.

Nuisance Claims

The firm represented several land owners being sued by neighboring property owners both individually and as a class for an alleged nuisance related to odors emanating from hog barns. The plaintiffs claimed that the odors unreasonably interfered with their enjoyment of property. The case was before the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky where it ultimately settled just before trial. Powell v. Tosh, No. 5:09-CV-00121-TBR-DW (W.D. Ky.).

Securities Fraud

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.

Constitutional Law

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.

INDUSTRY INVOLVEMENT

Financial Markets Association

Kentucky Bankers Association

Kentucky Association of Manufacturers

American Bar Association, Construction Law Committee

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