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In a dispute involving a 17-year business relationship between companies in the plastic film industry, firm attorneys prevailed at trial and on appeal in this breach-of-contract case. When a firm client suspected it was being shortchanged by its materials supplier, the future of their small family business was at stake. Pierce Atwood stepped in and helped convince a jury in Rhode Island federal court to award $2 million in lost profits to our client and ensure that the 17-year contract would remain in force. The award and the contract helped ensure the future of this small business.
We successfully tried a NASDAQ-listed company's claims against an ASIC developer who had contracted to develop the client's next generation product. The 14 person jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of our client for $36.7 million in damages, which is believed to be the largest verdict ever from a state court jury in Massachusetts. The jury also returned a verdict for the client rejecting the developer's approximately $7 million in counterclaims.
Pierce Atwood won an insurance coverage appeal to the Massachusetts Appeals Court for our client, an insured food processing company. The appeal turned on the issue of whether an unexplained cause of damage to property constitutes an “occurrence” under a commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy. The appeals court reversed summary judgment that the trial court entered in favor of the insurer, and remanded the matter to the trial court for further proceedings. The decision is significant because it is the first in the country where the court ruled that an insured’s liability based on application of the res ipsa loquitur doctrine could be sufficient to establish an “occurrence” under a CGL policy, despite not knowing the actual cause of damage. This is an important decision that is extremely beneficial to policy holders.
Represented US entity in distributorship dispute with UK company and its US sales and marketing subsidiary. The matter was administered by ICDR and arbitrated in Rhode Island. Issues concerned reaching the correct respondent (which had approximately 13 related companies). Received award for 100% of damages, plus attorney’s fees under Rhode Island statute, plus interest, and had the correct respondent liable for the award. The matter is now in collection in the UK, which administers such awards under the New York Convention.
Represented one of two partners in partnership dispute pertaining to operation of P&C personal lines insurance agency. Ultimately we secured an agreement to arbitrate the dispute, addressing liability and then issues of valuation for a divorce between the partners. Secured findings in favor of our client and very successful award of damages (high six figures) for his interest in the agency.
Represented a construction manager seeking payment for labor and materials (plus profit) provided to a luxury condominium developer, prior to termination. Required to prove that the termination was for convenience and then to prove damages, which was challenging due to the manner in which financial records were maintained. The developer offered nothing to settle until first day of hearings, when he offered slightly less than $1 million. Ultimately an award was issued providing for payment to construction manager of slightly more than $5 million, representing almost a 100% recovery plus interest.
Represented the developer of limited service hotel in dispute with construction manager, leading to construction manager’s termination of the contract, arguing material breaches by the developer. The matter went through mediation and then arbitration with award being issued in favor of developer for cover. The proceeding also involved peripheral disputes with various trades who had liens on the project.
Pierce Atwood represents a large national bank in an overdraft fee MDL pending in the District of South Carolina. During the course of the representation, we obtained dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims based on the bank’s past practice of ordering debits from high to low, and of usury claims based on the bank’s assessment of additional fees after a customer’s checking account continues to have a negative balance ten business days after the initial overdraft. In addition, we successfully opposed plaintiffs’ motion to certify a class seeking actual damages for alleged violation of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act.