G&S Client Awarded $229,500 Verdict Following Termination From Limited Liability Company
Gordon & Simmons, led by trial counsel Jacob I. Weddle and managing member Roger C. Simmons, secured a jury verdict of $229,500 for its client, Hillary F., in a dispute over her ouster from a Maryland limited liability company (“LLC”).
In May 2014, Hilary F., invested in and became a member of an LLC that marketed advertising on golf carts as its business model. At that time, Hilary F. and her two partners signed an Operating Agreement, agreeing that her membership interest was worth $229,500, and further, that Hilary F. had earned her membership interest through months of sweat equity in the growing business.
Despite this agreement, in October 2014, after Hillary F. had invested substantial additional sweat equity and cash in the company, Hilary F’s partners ousted her from the company, attempting to take back her membership interest without any compensation, intending to sell her interest in the business to new investors in order to obtain more capital.
In December 2014, Hilary F. sued her erstwhile partners for breaching the Operating Agreement. After filing suit, and hiring two sets of counsel, Hilary F. retained G&S to bring the case to trial.
Jacob I. Weddle tried this case over four (4) days before a Montgomery County, Maryland jury. After impassioned closing arguments, the jury unanimously found that Hilary F. had made substantial and valuable contributions to the company, that her partners had breached the Operating Agreement by ousting her from the Company without compensation, and that Hilary F.’s partners owed her $229,500, the value of her membership shares. The jury’s verdict also may allow Hilary F. to recover her attorneys’ fees and costs incurred during the case.
Hilary F. was delighted with the result, and with Gordon & Simmons’ thoughtful, measured guidance both before and during trial. Hilary F. wrote:
Although I have a great deal of experience dealing with law firms and lawyers, I have never been inclined to offer a testimonial in praise of the legal professionals I have worked with, but it is my absolute pleasure to do so for Roger Simmons and for Jacob Weddle and their firm of Gordon & Simmons, LLC.
Roger, unlike a prior counsel involved with my case, saw exactly what to do right from the get-go and developed a brilliant strategy. Had I retained he and his firm at the beginning of my case I could have saved myself an immense amount of money in legal fees. He knew what to do from the very first, not after months and months of legal machinations.
My case was multi-faceted, intricate and arduous. At every single step of our year-long engagement Roger, Jacob and their staff were not only diligent, prepared and determined, but they produced results, winning a six-figure jury verdict for me.
It is one thing to be a brilliant attorney, it is another to have tremendous “bed-side manner” and be able to communicate with, and relate to, a client effectively. I found this case difficult as I am not a fighter, but just determined to see justice done. At different times during the course of the case, my emotions often were getting the better of me — especially outrage and despair. Jacob was by my side, always with excellent counsel, with exceptionally good legal judgment and, importantly to me, with comforting, yet strong, words of logic.
I couldn’t recommend Roger Simmons and Jacob Weddle more highly. I would be glad to speak to anyone who is considering retaining Gordon & Simmons about my case and specifically regarding how well it was managed and how exceptionally professional, tenacious and honest this firm is.
Gordon & Simmons is pleased that the jury followed Maryland law and found that a limited liability company membership interest is personal property that cannot be taken without just compensation. The firm is pleased that the jury recognized Hilary F.’s efforts for, and investment in, the company, even when her partners did not, and compensated her accordingly.