On June 5, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of SKV’s client, New York businessman Jacob Citrin, who was sued in December 2006 by Matthew Minnis over the break-up of a commercial real estate business. Minnis alleged that Citrin improperly cut him out of the business by dissolving the relevant LLCs, and Minnis sought damages based on the estimated future value of the new and unproven business. Citrin denied liability under the clear language of the contracts, which allowed him to dissolve the LLCs, and denied that Minnis had suffered any damages, given that the business was new and never generated any profits for Citrin or Minnis. As trial counsel, SKV objected that Minnis’s damages model was unreliable and sought to exclude his expert witness from testifying to the jury, but the trial court allowed the testimony. After the trial court entered a $54 million judgment in favor of the Plaintiffs in April 2011, Houston’s 14th Court of Appeals reversed and rendered a take-nothing judgment in favor of Citrin, finding that the trial court should not have allowed Minnis’s expert witness to testify on damages because his testimony was incompetent and unreliable. SKV was co-counsel on the appellate briefing with Beck Redden LLP. Minnis’s efforts to overturn the take-nothing judgment failed, and Citrin was ultimately vindicated when the Texas Supreme Court denied Minnis’s petition for review.
This victory in a state court civil suit comes on the heels of a string of victories for SKV in 2015: a win in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in a white collar criminal matter, a federal court victory in Arkansas defending a major energy client in a purported class action by royalty owners, and a federal jury trial victory for a plaintiff in a trade secrets dispute in Houston. Four cases, four different areas of law, four successes.