Results Update — Fall 2016
M&S Secures Over $2 Million For Wronged Mexican Valve Distributor
In July 2016, M&S recovered $2.09 million* for Alpha Solutions, a Mexican valve distributor that had been cheated and defrauded by its former business partner, Master Flo, a Canadian valve manufacturer. The case exemplifies why hard work and dogged determination are critical to defeating well-funded defendants that refuse to accept responsibility or admit wrongdoing.
Since 2006, Alpha Solutions had been Master Flo’s exclusive distributor in southern Mexico, and the relationship was very profitable. That all changed in 2012, when Master Flo secretly turned its back on Alpha Solutions, and conspired with a disgruntled former employee of Alpha Solutions to take business from Alpha Solutions. The motive was simple: money.
Remarkably, it was Master Flo that first threatened to sue our client for hundreds of thousands of dollars. In response, we sued Master Flo 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, M&S 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 had passed 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.
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.
*Total attorney’s fees and expenses were $812,650.87.
M&S Prevails At Trial And Secures Unanimous Punitive Damages Verdict
In September 2016, M&S prevailed at trial in Houston federal court in a fraud and breach of contract case involving the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars of life insurance proceeds from a widowed mother of two. The jury unanimously found that our client had been defrauded by her fiancée through false promises and misrepresentations, and that the defendant had breached various enforceable agreements.
The jury awarded $244,000 in compensatory damages arising from breach of contract claims, $244,000 in past economic damages for the defendant’s fraud, $50,000 in past mental anguish, and $60,000 in punitive damages. On top of the amounts awarded by the jury, we have requested that the Court award attorneys’ fees, costs, and pre-judgment interest. The Court is still determining the appropriate amounts to award, if any.
The Defendant introduced evidence of multiple letters signed by our client stating the money had been given as a gift, but the jury agreed that she had been tricked into signing the letters.
The trial lasted two days, and the jury deliberated for 1.25 hours. The case is pending as Cause No. 15-cv-1878 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
During Trial, Commercial Vehicle Operator Settles Personal Injury Suit With M&S Client
Our client was injured in a commercial vehicle accident. Three other lawyers had previously taken his case, only to withdraw. We believed the client had sustained significant injuries and deserved his day in court.
We started trial in Harris County, Texas district court. Midway through, the defendants decided settlement was the best course of action. The terms of the settlement are confidential, but the result was very favorable for our client, and nearly double any previous pretrial settlement offer.
M&S Recovers For Injured Offshore Worker
Our client was severely injured in an offshore accident. After discovery, we were able to secure a favorable settlement. The terms of the deal are confidential, but our client was very happy with the result.