Hillside Handshake

Kansas juries enforce handshake agreements. Alan Meyer and John Pratt envisioned a housing development in Junction City, Kansas, for soldiers and their families stationed at Fort Riley. They called their vision The Bluffs. Meyer and Pratt shared their vision with two other partners. The four men shook hands and formed a joint venture to build the project. But the two other partners had a different bluff in mind. After Meyer and Pratt helped secure millions in public financing, they were tossed aside by their partners, who built the project with someone else. A federal jury in Kansas City, Kansas returned a $14.7 million verdict for our clients, Meyer and Pratt. Kansas City saw only one larger verdict in 2009. We tried and won the case without a written contract — just a handshake and a promise on a rocky Kansas hillside.

Meyer, et al. v. Christie, et al., Case No. 07-2230, United States District Court for the District of Kansas

$22 Million Manager

From the most humble beginnings, Jarnail and Manjit Sarai left India for the American Dream. After decades of hard work, sacrifice, and smart investing, they saved enough money to buy a construction company and rock quarry in financial distress. Facing an army of creditors, the seller had no where to go, so the Sarais kept him on to manage the company. He repaid their kindness and generosity with fraud and deceit. Our jury in Jackson County, Missouri refused to tolerate this injustice, and awarded the Sarais $22.3 million in July 2023.

Damon Pursell Construction Co. v. Pursell, Case No. 2116-CV19206, Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri.

Driving a Think Tank

The Cato Institute is one of the most well-known think tanks in Washington, DC. Lesser known is the Institute’s origin as a Kansas nonprofit corporation. When one of Cato’s four founding stockholders passed away, his widow inherited 25 percent of the Institute. This unexpected transfer of power displeased two surviving stockholders, who filed a lawsuit challenging her right to hold the stock. We defended her rights and negotiated a peaceful resolution without disrupting the Institute’s operations or mission.

Koch v. Washburn, Case No. 12-CV-1749, District Court of Johnson County, Kansas

American Greed

Season 13, episode 9 of American Greed is about Scott Tucker’s payday lending empire. When the Federal Trade Commission shut down Tucker and asked a federal court in Nevada to appoint a receiver over his operations, the receiver turned to Matt Geiger for litigation counsel. While Tucker waged war with the government, we helped the receiver preserve valuable assets. The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated some of the FTC’s authority, ending the receivership, but Tucker lost the war and remains in prison until 2032.

Federal Trade Commission v. AMG Services, Case No. 2:12-CV-00536, United States District Court for the District of Nevada

Big Hat, No Cattle

Horizontal Exploration claimed to be a premier oil and gas developer in the Marcellus Shale, with “low risk drilling and production opportunities” and “stable cash flows.” In fact, the company and its owners were wildcatters who left a trail of deceit across the Midwest. Horizontal Exploration got the best of some investors, but not the Frickey family. With our help, they fought back, suing the company and its owners for securities fraud and obtaining a $1.2 million judgment in Kansas federal court.

Frickey v. Thompson, et al., Case No. 2:14-CV-2189, United States District Court for the District of Kansas

Wrong Side Of The Bed

Sizewise manufactures and distributes specialty hospital beds for larger patients. One of its exclusive distributors (covering Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa) broke an agreement with Sizewise and shopped the Sizewise customer base to a direct competitor. We developed and implemented litigation and business strategies that helped Sizewise prevail in the courtroom and the marketplace. The case was resolved with a favorable settlement at the close of discovery.

Sizewise Rentals, LLC v. Unimed II, Inc., et al., Case No. 06-CV-1969, District Court of Johnson County, Kansas

Winning Streak

Lauren Larson always wanted his own business, so when he retired, Lauren bought and revived a failed sporting goods company. Lauren introduced fresh product lines and disciplined cost controls. When the company became profitable, the seller returned, arguing he only sold a majority stake in the business and still owned 49 percent. We fought for Lauren through a jury trial and two appeals. The courts held that the seller owned just a fractional share of one percent, which he divested to Lauren.

Winning Streak, Inc., et al. v. Winning Streak Sports, LLC, et al., Case No. 06-CV-5677, District Court of Johnson County, Kansas

Betting The Farm

Nestled in the central Missouri hills, Lin-J Farms has built a reputation for quality and integrity. When an outsider claimed to have an oral partnership with Lin-J, Ricky Taylor literally bet the farm we would win his case at trial. Under cross-examination, the judge found the claimant’s testimony to be “unclear, imprecise and sometimes contradictory.” By the time she left the witness stand, the claimant had testified the partnership formed on two different dates with three different sets of partners. The judge didn’t buy it, ruled there was no oral partnership, and the farm was safe and sound.

Taylor v. Taylor, Case No. 15CD-CV00420, Circuit Court of Cedar County, Missouri

With Friends Like These

Lots of folks tinker in their garage. The Rickerson family tinkered a revolutionary way to spin fiber lining into oil field pipe, improving its durability by decades. The product was a big hit, and a former “friend” came knocking for a share of the profits. He claimed to be a partner in the now-successful business. Navigating a mountain of conflicting evidence and novel intellectual property issues, we helped extract this “friend” from the Rickerson family business, which is going strong today.

Burkdoll v. Rickerson, Case No. 12-CV-29, District Court of Anderson County, Kansas

Rescuing Mayflower

Mayflower Renewable Energy was an alternative energy developer with a plan to make ethanol out of wood chips. Mayflower selected a global engineering firm to provide the biogasification technology that would heat the wood to extract gas from the material, then subject the gas to a catalyst, turning the gas into ethanol. After two years of work, the engineers abandoned the project without explanation. Mayflower sank. There was no written contract between the parties, no profit history at Mayflower, and a complex scientific overlay to the case. Despite these challenges, we obtained a favorable settlement for Mayflower on witness testimony, emails, and financial projections.

Mayflower Renewable Energy, Inc. v. Black & Veatch Corporation, Case No. 09-CV-11036, District Court of Johnson County, Kansas

Flying Solo

Air Charter Team books private jets for political campaigns. The company had one majority stockholder and one minority stockholder. The stockholders agreed to devote their full time and attention to the business. The minority stockholder abandoned the business for 55 months, then filed a lawsuit complaining about the allocation of profits. We defended the majority stockholder to a successful resolution that left him flying solo with 100 percent of the stock.

Wilkinson v. Tasler, Case No. 16AE-CV02956, Circuit Court of Platte County, Missouri

Fast, Fair and Final

Owning a business 50-50 with someone is like a marriage, and sometimes marriage ends in divorce. The separation needs to be fast, fair, and final. The two equal owners of Midwest Consulting Group could not agree, and one needed to buy out the other. They had no stockholder agreement to govern them, so we turned to a seldom-used procedure in Kansas to break their deadlock. Within 30 days of filing a lawsuit, our client owned 100 percent of the company on terms that were fast, fair, and final.

Martin v. Ward, Case No. 14-CV-2762, District Court of Johnson County, Kansas

Matter of Trust

Corley Farms was shrouded in mystery. Held in trust, the beneficiaries knew nothing of its finances or operations. While the farm seemed to struggle, the trustee/farm manager was doing quite well for himself. The trust beneficiaries begged the trustee to resign. He refused. Instead, the trustee tightened his grip and cut off distributions to the beneficiaries. They needed aggressive legal counsel, and we delivered. After a relentless litigation campaign, the trustee resigned, and the beneficiaries secured their independence.

Campbell v. Crist, Case No. 12-CV-46, District Court of Grant County, Kansas

Cross Indemnity

Griffin Wheel makes wheels for railcars. Acuren performed industrial inspections at the Griffin Wheel factory in Kansas City, Kansas. When a forklift accident at the factory injured an Acuren inspector, Griffin Wheel looked to Acuren for indemnity. Acuren declined. On a contingent fee basis, we brought claims to enforce the indemnity contract, despite procedural challenges and novel legal questions surrounding the contract language. After focused deposition discovery, both sides asked the court for summary judgment — an all or nothing proposition. The case was resolved with a favorable settlement hours before the motions hearing.

Amsted Industries, Inc. v. Acuren Inspection, Inc., Case No. 04-CV-3426, District Court of Wyandotte County, Kansas

Far From Home

Just because someone hauls you into court doesn’t mean you belong there. Ken Wright is a country veterinarian from Alberta, Canada. He had never been to Kansas, yet somehow his clinic wound up defending a cattle case in Kansas federal court. We argued the court had no jurisdiction over the clinic, and the judge agreed. Ken’s clinic was dismissed from the case — early and on budget.

Berry v. Ulrich Hereford Ranch, Inc., Case No. 17-2109, United States District Court for the District of Kansas

Fair Compensation

Mel Paul was very important to his employer, and he deserved to be paid for his dedication. Paul grew the top and bottom line, facilitated a major acquisition, and played a crucial role in the sale of a company that made fuel delivery trucks. Paul was promised $2.8 million of incentives, which his employer refused to pay. We prosecuted Paul's claim in Kansas federal court, reaching a favorable settlement just three months after filing the lawsuit.

Paul v. Walker Group Holdings, LLC, Case No. 2:15-CV-7260, United States District Court for the District of Kansas

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.