Beasley Firm and Francis Malofiy Awarded $4.2 Million Dollar Jury Verdict in Breach of Contract Case
Philadelphia jury awards 4.2 million for one-third ownership of Colonial Marble & Granite.
PHILADELPHIA, PA, June 13, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- After two weeks of trial, a Philadelphia jury deliberated nearly three days before returning with a $4.2 million dollar verdict for an ownership stake of a granite and marble company in a breach of contract lawsuit alleging minority shareholder oppression. The winning plaintiff was represented by Francis Malofiy, principal of Francis Alexander LLC and of counsel to The Beasley Firm, along with Max Kennerly of The Beasley Firm.
Plaintiff Anastasios "Tasos" Papadopolous alleged that, in 2006, he entered into an agreement with three others whereby he would use his 30 years of experience in the marble and granite industry to build and operate the entire production facility for NTP Marble (doing business today as Colonial Marble & Granite), while the other owners would provide $1 million in capital. It took nearly two years of construction before the facility was fully operational and finally able to generate income.
The lawsuit alleged that, once the business was on its feet, Athanasios "Tom" Papadopoulos (no relation to plaintiff) and Athanasios' son, Nikolaos Papadopoulos, and another defendant destroyed or concealed many of the documents reflecting Tasos's ownership interest and locked him out of the company. When Francis Malofiy took the case, he had no documents proving Tasos was an original shareholder, but he tracked down and obtained the original certified ownership files from PNC Bank, who had provided a loan to the business. These documents identified Tasos as an incorporator, officer, director, and shareholder of the business, and proved that the documents relied on by defense were fabricated. Max Kennerly of The Beasley Firm joined the case prior to trial, successfully arguing in his pretrial motions to disqualify multiple defense expert and fact witnesses, sharply limiting irrelevant evidence the defendants sought to use to smear the plaintiff and causing the defense to drop their breach of fiduciary duty counterclaim.
During the trial, the defense argued that Tasos was aware that he would receive an ownership stake in the company not through sweat equity, but only if he contributed financially. They claimed that Tasos was a poor worker and had a bad reputation in the marble community. Plaintiff called to testify an expert in the marble business who said NTP Marble was worth $27 to $30 million, while Defendants called an account to claim the company, which did $27 million in revenue in 2011, was worth only $1.4 million. Through nearly two weeks of trial Malofiy and Kennerly were successfully able to defend their client's reputation as a highly respected member of the marble community and to prove that his one third ownership stake was agreed on in the company's original business plan.
The jury ultimately decided on their verdict sheet that the agreement was for Tasos to provide his, "knowledge, experience, and substantial efforts, in exchange for stock, without investing money in the company." The jury specifically rejected the notion that Tasos had neglected any of his agreed upon duties in setting up the production facility. Interviews with the jurors afterwards showed that, while the majority of the jury leaned towards the $27 to $30 million dollar valuation when deliberations began, they ultimately agreed to a lower value of $12.5 million, meaning a one third stake was worth approximately $4.2 million.
Francis Alexander Malofiy, of Francis Alexander LLC is an "of counsel" member of The Beasley Firm. Max Kennerly of The Beasley Firm, author of the LexisNexis guide Pennsylvania Civil Discovery, was recently named a "Rising Star" in the 2012 edition of Super Lawyers. For fifty years, The Beasley Firm has set the standard for representing plaintiffs, including in complex litigation.
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