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. Represented by Geiger Prell, 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
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 Geiger Prell 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
The Cato Institute is one of the most recognizable 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. Geiger Prell defended her rights and negotiated a peaceful resolution without disrupting the Institute’s operations.
Koch v. Washburn, Case No. 12-CV-1749, District Court of Johnson County, Kansas
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” of the Rickersons 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, Geiger Prell 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
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. Since they had no stockholder agreement to govern them, Geiger Prell turned to a seldom-used procedure in Kansas to break their deadlock. Within 30 days of filing a lawsuit, Geiger Prell’s 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
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. Geiger Prell prosecuted his 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
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 to appoint a receiver over his operations, the appointed receiver turned to Geiger Prell for litigation counsel. While Tucker waged war with the government, Geiger Prell 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
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. Geiger Prell 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
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. Geiger Prell 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
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 Geiger Prell 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
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. Lauren fought 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
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 the firm’s 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
Dustin Robinson worked in the electrical testing field his entire career. When he joined Electric Power Systems, Dustin was handed an extremely restrictive non-competition and non-solicitation agreement. Less than a year later, Dustin decided to move on to a new employer, and EPS tried to enforce the strict terms of Dustin’s agreement. The terms would have required Dustin to move far away or abandon his profession entirely. In expedited litigation featuring multiple requests for injunctive relief, our lawyers ultimately prevailed in a bench trial. The court dramatically reduced the onerous restrictive covenants EPS sought to enforce, which permitted Dustin to keep working in the only profession he had ever known, here in Kansas City.
Electric Power Systems, Inc. v. Dustin Robinson, Case No. 11AW-CC00046, Circuit Court of Andrew County, Missouri
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. Geiger Prell 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. Today, Sizewise owns and operates all of its sites and no longer employs its old distribution sales model in the United States.
Sizewise Rentals, LLC v. Unimed II, Inc., et al., Case No. 06-CV-1969, District Court of Johnson County, Kansas
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, our lawyers 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
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, Geiger Prell asserted 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