Commercial Litigation Group
Butler Snow's commercial litigation practice is led by some of the firm's most experienced trial lawyers. They have gained regional and national reputations for handling complex commercial litigation and mass tort, resulting in a high level of success for our clients. We understand business, and we are prepared to help you resolve even your most complex disputes.
Although the firm's size and formidable litigation resources attract a significant number of representations in large commercial disputes (including complex antitrust, lender liability, securities and business tort litigation), basic contract, fidelity and surety, and business dissolution matters continue to be a significant part of the commercial litigation practice. Our experience encompasses a wide range of commercial disputes, including business and shareholder disputes, real estate and oil and gas litigation, insurance claims and coverage, director and officer liability and failed financial institution litigation, breach of contract, breach of warranty, consumer protection, unfair competition, UCC and sales litigation, administrative bid protests, RICO, securities and bankruptcy cases, as well as related class actions.
Our areas of practice in Commercial Litigation include:
Butler Snow attorneys handle a wide variety of litigated tax matters, including litigation with the Internal Revenue Service and various State agencies concerning estate taxes, gift taxes, income taxes, and various other taxes. We also handle antitrust and franchising cases, banking litigation, director and officer liability defense, and litigated matters involving closely held or family corporations.
The firm's lawyers have substantial experience in litigated matters involving intellectual property, trade secrets, trade dress and business torts, and we regularly represent businesses in matters concerning false advertising, Lanham Act unfair trade practices and trade disparagement, and state law tortious interference. Butler Snow's commercial litigators also are experienced in trademark, antitrust and unfair competition litigation.
- Members of our Commercial Litigation practice include Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Two of our senior litigators are listed in the business litigation section of The Best Lawyers in America®.
- The Commercial Litigation Group has in-house CPAs, banking specialists, insurance specialists and others who can contribute to the overall effort, consistent with our emphasis on teamwork.
- Our commercial litigators recognize that businesses need to stay out of court or get out as quickly as possible; therefore, we immediately focus on your business goal.
- If litigation can be avoided we work with the client to negotiate or engage in alternative dispute resolution to reach a solution.
- Many firms approach all cases with a defense mentality; however, Butler Snow recognizes that in commercial and IP cases the client may be taking an offensive rather than defensive posture.
- We have ample resources outside of the commercial litigation team, such as members of the Appellate & Written Advocacy Practice Group who may assist for motion practice, briefing and appellate work.
- Some of the companies for which we have been lead class or mass action counsel include: American General Financial Services, Inc., State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Company and Waste Management of Mississippi, Inc.
- Several litigators handle antitrust and franchising cases, and these cases have included class actions (lead counsel for BellSouth Corporation), complex distribution issues (lead counsel for ChemFirst), civil and criminal price fixing cases (lead counsel for Michelin North America, Inc. and local counsel for Borden, Inc., Lion Oil Co., and Smith Bakeries) and monopolization and attempted monopolization disputes (lead counsel for BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc. and The Hernando Bank).
American General Financial Services, Inc. “Flipping and Packing” Litigation. Beginning in late 1998 and continuing until late spring of 2006, Butler Snow defended American General Financial Services, Inc. ("AGFS") and a number of its affiliates, as well as current and former personnel in approximately 98 consumer finance "flipping and packing" suits or arbitration proceedings, collectively involving approximately 3400 plaintiffs/claimants. The suits - which were filed across numerous counties in Mississippi and Western Tennessee-asserted sales practices-type claims involving the sale of credit insurance and refinancing of consumer loans.
FedEx v. AccuSort (W.D. Tenn. 2006). Butler Snow represented Federal Express Corporation (FedEx) as plaintiff against AccuSort Systems, Inc., the world’s largest supplier of bar code scanning technology. This case involved claims of breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets and technology, conversion and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with FedEx’s contract with AccuSort. Prior to trial the Court granted summary judgment to FedEx on the antitrust counterclaim of AccuSort. Then, after several days of trial, the parties agreed to a settlement in which AccuSort paid several million dollars to FedEx.
Tunica Web Advertising, Inc. v. Barden Mississippi, L.L.C., 2005 WL 3488499, 2005-2 Trade Cases (CCH) P 75,076 (N.D. Miss. 2005). We defended Gold Strike Casino Resort, Inc., a subsidiary of Mandalay Resort Group which has since been acquired by MGM, in a federal antitrust Sherman Section One horizontal Group boycott/refusal to deal case. After extensive discovery, the federal district court granted summary judgment in favor of all defendants and against the plaintiffs.
Carder v. BASF Corp., 919 So.2d 258 (Miss. App. 2005). Our Commercial Litigation Group successfully represented BASF Corporation in a state court suit by two Mississippi citizens asserting claims under the Mississippi Antitrust Act, the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act and for unjust enrichment and civil conspiracy arising out of a vitamins antitrust conspiracy that BASF Corporation’s twice removed parent corporation BASF AG pled guilty to in May 1999. If the case had been successful, it could have resulted in a flood of claims by some or all of the approximately 2.8 million citizens of the State of Mississippi.
Matheny v. Batesville Casket Co. et al., (S.D. Miss. 2004). We defended Batesville Casket Company and Batesville Service Company in a federal antitrust Sherman Section One refusal to deal case brought by plaintiff wholesaler of caskets who attacked defendants' policy of refusing to sell caskets to any reseller other than licensed funeral home operators. The federal district court in an unreported decision granted summary judgment in favor of defendants.
Yacoubian, et al. v. Bridgestone/ Firestone (Docket #00-301515-8), Shelby County, TN 2000. Butler Snow served as lead defense counsel in a nationwide consumer fraud class action against Bridgestone/Firestone auto service centers located in every state. Plaintiffs' alleged that the service centers intentionally and fraudulently priced and marketed repairs. We obtained summary judgment prior to trial.
Venita Baldwin and Saundra A. Flynn, et al. v. National Safety Associates. Butler Snow was lead defense counsel in a nationwide class action consumer fraud case against National Safety Associates Inc. (NSA), a Memphis Tennessee Multi-Level Marketing company. It was alleged by plaintiffs that NSA operated a pyramid scheme designed to defraud its members. After discovery, the court entered summary judgment on behalf of NSA.
Leonard v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. et al., (S.D. Miss.). We defended Michelin North America Inc. in a federal antitrust Sherman Section One horizontal price-fixing conspiracy class action brought against all major domestic automobile tire manufacturers in the United States. After taking discovery limited to the issue of the standing of the plaintiffs to bring suit, the federal district court dismissed the suit in an unreported decision based on the Illinois Brick indirect purchaser doctrine.
For additional information on Commercial Litigation, please contact Daniel Van Horn or Barney Robinson.