Case Studies

Fast and Efficient Settlement of a Hotly Contested Business Dispute

Ginise v. White Oak Partners, LLC. 2015. Franklin County Ohio Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 15 CV004034
In January 2015, Russell Ginise resigned as president of White Oak Partners, LLC, a closely held company engaged in the acquisition, ownership and operation of multi-family investment properties. At the time of his resignation, Mr. Ginise was one of the owners of White Oak Partners, and his resignation triggered buyout provisions at fair market value. A dispute arose as to the fair market value of his units and the parties were far apart in their respective assessments of the fair market value of Mr. Ginise’s units. In May 2015, Mr. Hill filed suit on behalf of Mr. Ginise in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. The matter was hotly contested at the outset, but by November 2015, before any substantial discovery had been undertaken (and with the cooperation of able opposing counsel), the parties reached a settlement on terms that eliminated any risk as to the outcome, eliminated the anticipated substantial costs of litigation for both parties, and that Mr. Ginise found very satisfactory. Mr. Ginise’s thoughts about the case and its outcome can be seen under Endorsements.

A Battle Fought to the Finish Results in an $18 Million Judgment

Stuckey v. Online Resources Corporation. United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Case No. 2:08-CV-1188.
In 1999, several young tech-savvy entrepreneurs came together to build a new business that provided specialized electronic payment services to the accounts receivable management and utilities industries. By 2006, that business, Internet Transaction Solutions, Inc. (“ITS”), had become an award-winning industry leader and the owners decided to sell. The buyer was a publicly traded corporation called Online Resources Corporation, Inc. (ORC). ORC breached the purchase contract by not timely registering ORC stock that it issued as part of the purchase price to the ITS shareholders and Kent Stuckey, the president of ITS, sued ORC on behalf of ITS shareholders in federal court in Columbus.

ORC, represented by international law firm Greenberg Traurig, fought every step of the way. ORC filed two motions to dismiss the lawsuit, both of which were overruled. ORC also moved for summary judgment, which was also overruled. The case was ultimately tried in federal court throughout approximately two weeks to United States District Judge Algenon L. Marbley. Following extensive post-trial briefs, Judge Marbley found for Stuckey, awarding $18.1 million in damages- ORC appealed. While the appeal was pending, Stuckey (on behalf of himself and the ITS shareholders) settled for $17.9 million. Mr. Stuckey’s thoughts about the case and its outcome can be seen under Endorsements.

A Fight Over the Multi-Million-Dollar Fee Awards in the Tobacco Settlement

Lorillard Tobacco Company et al v. Chester Willcox & Saxbe, LLP, et al, Case No. 2:04-CV-715.
The 1997 nationwide settlement of the renowned “tobacco fee” litigation resulted in an award of $3.4 billion dollars in legal fees to the law firms that represented the State of Florida in its claims against the defendant tobacco companies. Those fees were to be paid out over 25 years, without interest, and their payment was unsecured. A number of the Florida law firms chose to sell their portion of that fee award for a discounted up-front payment of cash. After they did so, a dispute arose between the purchasers of those fee awards and the Florida firms over exactly what fees had been sold. That dispute resulted in an interpleader action filed in federal court in Columbus, Ohio, in August 2004. Mr. Hill and his partner, Chris Weber, represented the purchaser of the fee awards and the bank that served as the indenture trustee of the fee awards as they were paid. The case was vigorously contested between the Florida law firms (on one side) and the purchaser of the fee awards and the indenture trustee (on the other side).

The contracts through which the Florida law firms sold their fee awards to the purchasers were extraordinarily voluminous and complex. Discovery was extensive, involving the production and review of hundreds of thousands of documents and multiple depositions. Multiple motions were filed, thoroughly briefed, and ruled upon. Florida counsel appealed two of the district court’s rulings against them to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and, after seven long years of litigation, the case was finally settled.

Lester J. (“Ruff”) Fant was the representative of the purchasers of the Florida fee awards with whom Mr. Hill and Mr. Weber worked closely for those seven years. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Mr. Fant was formerly a partner and executive committee member at Sidley Austin LLP, while also serving as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center for seventeen years. Mr. Fant’s thoughts about that litigation and its outcome can also be seen under Endorsements.

Representation of Ambulatory Surgical Center in Corporate Dispute

Our litigators represented the physician members of an ambulatory surgical center in a dispute over whether the long-time management company should continue as manager and a member of the ASC. The case was on an expedited track and required comprehensive review of thousands of documents. Depositions were conducted on parallel tracks, meaning that several depositions took place at the same time, and the case was resolved with the management company agreeing to be bought out of the ASC.