Articles Posted in Corporate Compliance

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Appellants The Source Store LLC (“Source 1”), The Source LLC (“Source 2”), Michael L. Hodge (“Hodge”), George M. Brown (“Brown”), and Christopher Claiborne (“Claiborne”) appealed the district court’s order denying their Joint Motion to Dismiss, by which they sought to dismiss the derivative claims brought by respondents Donnelly Prehn and Dwight Bandak on behalf of Source 1. The Supreme Court did not reverse the district court’s decision not to hear Appellants’ Joint Motion to Dismiss. Further, the Court affirmed the district court’s finding that Hodge breached his fiduciary duty to Source 1 and its members. Specifically, the Court affirmed the district court’s awards related to the following: (1) Hodge’s breach of his fiduciary duty as to the management of the asset auction; (2) Hodge’s breach of his fiduciary duty related to his failure to minimize expenses during dissolution; (3) Prehn’s entitlement to back salary and reimbursement for the loan; and (4) the unjust enrichment of Hodge and Source 2. The Court affirmed the district court’s award of attorney’s fees. View "Prehn v. Hodge" on Justia Law

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Vint Hughes and H-D Transport, an Idaho partnership, appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Michael Pogue and Lawson & Laski, PLLC (collectively Pogue) in a legal malpractice action. Hughes and H-D Transport brought suit against Pogue claiming that at various points starting in October 2011, until present, Pogue had an attorney-client relationship with both Hughes and H-D Transport. In August of 2011, Hughes and Andrew Diges entered into a 50-50 partnership, under the name H-D Transport, to haul hydraulic fracturing fluid. Disagreements arose between the partners concerning the operation and finances of the partnership. On October 21, 2011, Diges hired Pogue to draft a formal partnership agreement. Diges told Hughes that he had hired an attorney to prepare a partnership agreement, and about a month later Pogue, Hughes and Diane Barker, the partnership bookkeeper, participated in a conference call regarding the partnership. Despite the efforts to create a partnership agreement, Pogue, on behalf of Diges, sent Hughes a letter “regarding the problems and irregularities concerning the operation of H-D Transport, and to propose a wind-up of the business.” Pogue filed a complaint requesting declaratory relief, an accounting, and a dissolution of the partnership (the Dissolution Action). In the complaint, Pogue named H-D Transport and Diges as the plaintiffs and Hughes as the defendant. Following trial of the Dissolution Action, the district court entered findings of fact and conclusions of law which largely decided issues in Hughes’ favor. Diges was ordered to repay H-D transport more than $50,000, including $1,500 in partnership funds for legal fees paid to Pogue. Following trial, but prior to the district court’s decision in the Dissolution Action, Hughes and H-D Transport filed the present action naming Pogue and his firm as defendants, alleging two counts of professional negligence and breach of fiduciary duty and two counts of unreasonable restraint of trade under the Idaho Competition Act. The district court granted Pogue’s motion for summary judgment on all claims, concluding Hughes and H-D Transport failed to establish that an attorney-client relationship existed with Pogue. The Supreme Court found that it was unreasonable, under the facts of this case, for Hughes to believe he had an attorney-client relationship with Pogue. The Court therefore affirmed the district court judgment. View "H-D Transport v. Pogue" on Justia Law

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Wanooka Farms, Inc. was a closely held family farming corporation. During the course of negotiations over the a split of the corporation (to avoid certain tax consequences), two appraisals were done. The appeal before the Supreme Court in this matter was an appeal of a bench trial in which the district court found that the fair value of shares in Wanooka equaled $3,344 per share. Finding no reversible error in the trial court's finding, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Wagner v. Wagner" on Justia Law

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A jury returned a special verdict that: (a) awarded damages against an attorney and his girlfriend based upon the jury's finding that they had breached their fiduciary duties to a former client of the attorney by purchasing half of his stock in a closely held corporation for less than its fair market value; and (b) cancelled debts owing by the corporation to the attorney and his girlfriend based upon the jury's finding that they had breached their fiduciary duties to a shareholder, the former client's widow, by making loans to the corporation. The district court granted a new trial on the ground that there was insufficient evidence to justify the verdict, and this appeal followed. Finding sufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict, the Supreme Court affirmed the grant of a new trial. View "Berry v. McFarland" on Justia Law