M&S recently recovered $2.09 million* for Alpha Solutions, a Mexican valve distributor that had been defrauded by its former business partner, a Canadian valve manufacturer. After more than two years of litigation in the trial court, multiple failed motions to dismiss, depositions in three countries, and an intervening trip to the court of appeals, our client Alpha Solutions was fully vindicated on the eve of trial. In addition to obtaining significant money damages, our client’s reputation was restored. This case exemplifies why hard work and determination are necessary to overcome well-funded opponents intent on denying responsibility. More details about the case are provided below.
Since 2006 and pursuant to a written contract, Alpha Solutions was the exclusive distributor of oilfield valves in southern Mexico for a Canadian manufacturer named Master Flo. The relationship was very profitable, and Alpha Solutions grew the product line from practically nothing to a multi-million dollar brand in Mexico. That all changed in 2012, when Master Flo turned its back on Alpha Solutions, and conspired with a disgruntled former employee of Alpha Solutions to replace Alpha Solutions with a new company.
Remarkably, it was Master Flo that first threatened to sue Alpha Solutions for hundreds of thousands of dollars. In response, Alpha Solutions sued first in Texas state court. Master Flo countersued, and fought tooth-and-nail to move the case to its home turf in Canada for over a year. Master Flo then vigorously opposed our efforts to obtain their emails and phone records, and even filed a mandamus with the Houston Fourteenth Court of Appeals to try and prevent them from seeing the light of day. After full briefing, the appellate court sided with Alpha Solutions, and Master Flo was required to produce thousands of emails and phone records it had refused to turn over. As a result of that failed appeal, we finally secured critical liability and damages documents. Meanwhile, depositions took place across North America in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. All along the way, Master Flo denied responsibility, and was adamant that our client in fact owed them money. Master Flo then attempted to dismiss the case entirely. Following multiple hearings, many hours of argument to the court, and hundreds of pages of briefing and evidence, efforts to dismiss the case were not successful.
Finally, after several trial settings and left with no further continuances, Master Flo agreed to pay $2,090,000.00 on the eve of trial, which our client was thrilled to accept. This amount was considerably higher than the primary damage model to be presented at trial. Our client refused to keep the settlement confidential, demanding open vindication for the wrong done to them and the harm their reputation had suffered.
*Total attorney’s fees and expenses were $812,650.87.
Master Flo was represented by a team of Baker Botts L.L.P. lawyers in Houston, Dallas, Washington D.C., and Dubai. The case was pending as 2014-00695 in the 80th District Court of Harris County, Texas.