Contact: Michael J. Donnelly
Contact: Thomas S. Vangel
Disputes are a fact of life in all industries. However, for most of our clients, disputes are not at the center of their business plan. Instead, disputes are expensive and time consuming distractions for your key personnel. Our commercial litigation team prides itself on working with our clients to develop strategies to resolve disputes in accordance with the client’s business objectives in the most efficient and effective way possible, whether the dispute involves seeking recovery or defense from claims. We achieve those results by helping the client to develop a realistic business objective, and then applying tools like early case assessment to plan how best to achieve those objectives. We are very comfortable in private negotiations, mediation, arbitration or in the state or federal courts.
The following are some of the results Murtha Cullina has achieved recently for clients:
- Obtained preliminary injunctive relief against all reach and apply defendants to prevent them from transferring, encumbering, or otherwise dissipating any limited liability company membership interest or other property held for the benefit of certain guarantors so that our client, Webster Bank, could reach and apply those guarantors’ interests to its judgment. We obtained prejudgment attachments on the guarantors’ residences as well. We then won summary judgment in Webster Bank’s favor. Webster Bank, N.A. v. McAuliffe, et al., No. 10-3573 (Mass. Super. Ct. 2011).
- Sued a franchisee and several guarantors for breach of several franchise agreements as well as a promissory note. We won summary judgment on the promissory note claim and a court ruling that none of the defendants’ affirmative defenses precluded recovery on the franchise claims. Pizzeria Uno Corp. v. Pizza By Pubs, Inc., et al., No. 09-CV-12015, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101648 (D. Mass. Sept. 9, 2011).
- Represented Cendant Corporation to enforce its $3.2 billion criminal restitution orders against convicted former President E. Kirk Shelton and former CEO and Board Chairman Walter A. Forbes. The actions included numerous claims to set aside millions of dollars of fraudulent transfers and for the imposition of constructive trusts. They were resolved pursuant to confidential settlement agreements. Cendant Corporation v. E. Kirk Shelton, et al., No. 3:06-CV-854 (D. Conn. 2007); United States of America and Cendant Corporation v. Walter A. Forbes, et al., No. 3:08-CV-00933 (D. Conn. 2009).
- Sued to collect all amounts due to the seller of an accounting practice. Shortly after filing the action, the defendants agreed to a settlement whereby they agreed to make substantially all payments due. Marotto v. Marotto and Walsh, LLC, No. 12-1295 (Mass. Super. Ct. 2012).
- Through mediation, recovered in excess of $4.6 million for investors in a $264 million stable value fund that had filed Chapter 11. Working with the Department of Labor in a multi-party mediation, we outlined claims against various third parties who had participated in the Fund’s inappropriate investment in a collapsed hedge fund holding collateralized debt obligations (CDO’s). We obtained the result within five months of our appointment. The investors ultimately recovered in excess of 100% of their claims. In re Trust Advisors Stable Value Plus Fund, No. 05-51353 (Bankr. D. Conn. July 28, 2006).
- After successfully defending a motion to dismiss, we secured a multi-million dollar settlement of breach of fiduciary claims against former directors and officers of a publicly traded company for operating in the zone of insolvency. Christopher J. Panos, Trustee of the RoweCom Liquidating Trust v. Sullivan, (In re Sabine, Inc.), Adv. Pro. No. 05-01019-JNF (Bankr. D. Mass. May 28, 2008).
- Obtained injunctive relief and attachment of assets in support of collection of $132,000,000 criminal restitution judgment held by manufacturing company against former directors and officers. Tyco International, Ltd. v. L. Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz, et al., No. 06-2310 (Mass. Super. Ct., Suffolk County, June 16, 2006).
- Represented a computer software company seeking to recover for non-payment and breach of contract. After a two-week federal court jury trial, the jury returned a verdict on all of our client’s claims and against the defendant on all of its counterclaims. In addition, we successfully obtained a court ruling on our application for attorneys’ fees and costs in the amount of $552,426. J.P. Sedlak Assocs. v. Connecticut Life & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 98-CV-145 (DFM) 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18947 (D. Conn. 2000).
- In the midst of a seven-day trial in the United States Bankruptcy Court on a claim by an insurance carrier that its obligations to defend and indemnify under certain environmental liability insurance policies had been released pursuant to a bankruptcy settlement, we reached a resolution providing a significant payment to our client. American Home Assurance Company, et al. v. Ryan, Adv. Pro. No. 04-05013 (In re Raytech Corporation, et al., Case No. 89-00293) (Bankr. D. Conn. Mar. 6, 2006).
- Client terminated long term distributor of solid surfaces in New England and began selling directly into the market. The terminated distributor sought an injunction and $15 million in damages. Murtha successfully defended the client against the injunction and the vast majority of the claims utilizing motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment and motions to exclude experts. Case resolved after an appeal on terms favorable to the client.
- Successfully defended client which had prevailed on a public RFP process to purchase property. Claim asserted that our client had participated in an unfair process with the public entity running the bid process. We obtained a withdrawal of the claim, a public apology and repayment of legal fees.
- Defended a claim against a water utility for breach of contract and tort claims arising from an agreement to develop wells, treatment and storage facilities for a residential housing development. The plaintiff initially sought over 1.5 million dollars in damages. We countersued for breach of contract. After a five-day bench trial, the court rejected the plaintiff’s claims entirely and entered judgment for our client, the water utility, on its counterclaim for over $380,000. Dream Developers of Cape Cod, Inc. v. Eastern Connecticut Regional Water Company, Inc., et al., No. MMX-CV-07-5002735-S, 2012 Conn. Super. LEXIS 3 (Jan. 4, 2012); 2011 Conn. Super. LEXIS 730 (Mar. 24, 2011).
- Won summary judgment for Century 21 in an action by a private mortgage lender who alleged that a real estate agent affiliated with a Century 21 franchisee made misrepresentations in connection with four real estate transactions, causing it to lend money that was never repaid. The plaintiff alleged that Century 21 should be held vicariously liable for the agent’s alleged misrepresentations and that Century 21 had committed unfair and deceptive practices. Brooks Place Properties, LLC v. DiMaria, et al., No. SUCV 2011-01467, 2012 Mass. Super. LEXIS 203 (June 18, 2012).
- Won a defense judgment for a corporate client against a minority shareholder who claimed that the client’s recapitalization proposal violated the voting requirements of the Connecticut Business Combination Act. The main issue required the interpretation of a legislative provision that most states have adopted but that no court had previously interpreted. After winning a bench trial in federal court, our client was allowed to proceed with its recapitalization and to create a single class of voting common stock in place of the dual class structure that had been in place previously. Mason Capital, Ltd. v. Kaman Corp., No. 3:05-CV-1470 (MRK), 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25900 (D. Conn. Oct. 31, 2005).
- After a three-day hearing on an injunction and a prejudgment remedy of $25 million brought on a counterclaim, we blocked the injunction and the entire prejudgment remedy against an electricity generator. Meriden Gas Turbines LLC v. Yankee Gas Services Company, No. CV0200806365 2004 Conn. Super. LEXIS 2804 (Oct. 7, 2004).
- Obtained an Emergency Preliminary Injunction restraining a plaintiff’s affiliate from refusing to manufacture and deliver product to a joint venture between the defendant and the plaintiff as required by a supply contract between plaintiff’s affiliate and the joint venture. Following entry of the preliminary injunction, the matter was settled by an Agreement under which the defendant purchased the plaintiff’s interest in the joint venture and entered into a modified supply contract with the plaintiff’s affiliate. Keystone Technologies v. E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, No. 2:04-CV-56 (D. Vt. 2005).
- Obtained the dismissal of two putative class actions of depositors against the board of directors of a bank going through demutualization on the grounds that the plaintiffs did not exhaust their administrative remedies before the Connecticut Banking Department. Turonis v. Patterson, et al., CV030198437 2004 Conn. Super. LEXIS 669 (Mar. 12, 2004) and Marks v. Patterson, et al., No. CV040465933, 2004 Conn. Super. LEXIS 669 (Mar. 12, 2004).
- Defended DuPont against a 19-Count Complaint challenging the termination of three Distribution Agreements for DuPont products. The Court denied plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction on June 1, 2006 [2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35813 (D. Me. June 1, 2006)], ordered dismissal of five Counts pursuant to DuPont’s Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim [460 F. Supp. 2d 153 (D. Me. 2006)], granted Summary Judgment for DuPont and its co-defendant Parksite, Inc. on most of the remaining claims [517 F. Supp. 2d 466 (D. Me. 2007)], and ultimately entered Judgment for DuPont and Parksite on the remaining claims after granting their Joint Motion in Limine [2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90057 (Dec. 6, 2007).]. All of the District Court actions were affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals except for the Connecticut Franchise Act claim, which was remanded for further proceedings. New England Surfaces v. E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, 546 F.3d1 (1st Cir. Sept. 28, 2008) clarified at 546 F.3d11 (1st Cir. Oct. 21, 2008).
- Defeated a claim that the plaintiff was entitled to 99-year lease. Our judgment after a bench trial was affirmed on appeal. Nipmuc Properties, LLC v. PDC-El Paso Meriden LLC, et al., No. CV020281664S2005 Conn. Super. LEXIS 2094, (Aug. 11, 2005), aff’d, 103 Conn. App. 90, cert. denied, 284 Conn. 932 (2007).
- Obtained a defense verdict in a jury trial of a $500,000 claim against an optical lens manufacturer for alleged breaches of an equipment sale contract and optical coating services contract. American Torch Tip, Ltd. v. Takos Trading Co., Inc., No. 06-30105-KPN (D. Mass. Oct. 17, 2007).
- Successfully obtained dismissal of a Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction over a Canadian manufacturer of specialty products that was alleged to have wrongfully terminated a Distributor Agreement for the defendant’s products and to have wrongfully misappropriated customer relationships. T&T Marketing, Inc. v. Gendon Polymer Services, Inc., (Mass. Super. Ct. Bus. Sec., Oct. 29, 2008).