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Introduction

Our litigators always place you the client at the center of everything we do. When you first come to us, we will work with you to evaluate your case and consider the big-picture dynamics: the legal forecast, your budget and business concerns and your overall objectives. Together, we’ll explore all options—from negotiation to litigation. Then our close-knit team will take the course of action that best aligns with your interests, drawing on our many attributes, including: Experience— we’ve successfully resolved thousands of cases over decades of representing clients. Preparation—we do our homework to avoid any surprises. Integrity—we’re known by judges and opposing counsel for our honesty and ethics, a reputation that benefits those we represent. Come to us, and we’ll deliver client-focused service, help resolve your dispute, and get you back to running your business.

Business and Commercial Litigation

The right strategy, plus diligent and dogged research into historical documents led to our prevailing for our clients in the Life Partners $700 million lawsuit


Client Challenge:

Burford Perry represented the founder and former CEO of Life Partners, Inc., and his longtime partner against allegations that he breached his fiduciary duties to Life Partners, violated the Texas Securities Act, took millions in preference payments from the company, and fraudulently transferred tens of millions of dollars to his partner. In total, the company sought $700 million from Pardo based on what it called the largest and longest-running Ponzi scheme in Texas history.


Burford Perry Approach:

We quickly recognized and discussed with our clients that the best defense would focus on mitigation. Life Partners invented the business of brokering the sale of fractional interests in “life settlements” to investors. Individuals who owned life insurance policies sold their right to future payouts in a competitive market with the price (the “life settlement”) based on the insured’s life expectancy. The company—utilizing his historic attorney-client privileged, company emails against him—alleged that the CEO had knowingly defrauded investors by systematically understating the sellers’ life expectancies and by charging an unreasonably high brokerage fee to investors. By scouring years of the company’s public reporting for information to disprove the company’s witnesses and cross-examining dozens of investors with their actual versus projected financials, we were able to show that Life Partners had consistently provided positive returns to its investors. The company’s expert witness admitted at trial that the company had no evidence to support the Ponzi scheme allegations.


The Outcome:

After a two-week trial, the jury found that Life Partners was not a Ponzi scheme, effectively gutting the company’s $700 million damage claim. In post-judgment briefing, the company conceded a lack of evidence for its fraudulent transfer claims. The court rendered judgment for about 3% of the $700 million sought. Burford Perry was able to obtain the complete release of the CEO’s partner through a post-judgment settlement while the case was on appeal.


The case is No. 4:15-cv-905-O; H. Thomas Moran, et al. v. Brian Pardo, et al., In the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division.


Featured Client Story

Cross-industry fluency and both-sides-of-the-docket experience

Our commercial litigators meticulously but efficiently assess each unique dispute and set of circumstances and then craft negotiation or litigation strategies that pave the way to optimal resolutions for our clients. While we represent many entrepreneurs, first- and second-generation immigrant business leaders and small- to mid-sized enterprises on virtually any type of business dispute [CP Team: please add link to Technical Strengths, which are listed below], we’re also experienced in representing large, international companies. Our clients operate in a wide range of industries, including oil and gas, energy, technology, real estate, construction, financial services, transportation, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency and many others.


In addition, we have represented both plaintiffs and defendants. This both-sides perspective provides us with a panoramic view of disputes, helping us anticipate the other side’s moves and the various twists and turns a case may take.


Diverse backgrounds enhance client service

We differentiate ourselves from other commercial litigators in many ways. For example, in addition to our extensive legal experience, we bring to our practice occupational diversity and broad knowledge in business practices, accounting and finance principles and tax law. While we don’t provide legal advice in those areas, this experience informs and augments the litigation services we deliver to clients.


One of our team’s partners previously worked as an accountant for two Big Eight accounting firms and then served legal clients as a tax attorney for three years. One has a background in finance, and another managed his own business. Two of our lawyers are engineers and another has experience in leadership and political science. Our attorneys with these and other non-legal backgrounds cultivated a wide range of skills sets, which inform our legal service and help us produce positive resolutions.


Always keeping an eye on your bottom line

One of the major issues that keeps clients awake at night is no surprise: money. Our lawyers fully understand that you operate on tight budgets and must keep your legal spend in check while also getting the best counsel possible. We marshal our resources to chart an efficient course of action that helps you achieve your objectives. When you retain us you get a cohesive legal team composed of attorneys with the right skills to best match your particular needs. In addition, when you hire one of our partners, that attorney stays with you throughout every stage of the dispute resolution process, and this continuity bolsters both efficiency and legal service excellence. We also embrace a truly collaborative culture and draw on each other’s strengths and knowledge. If one of our attorneys doesn’t understand a particular provision of an arcane law, another does and can quickly answer any questions about it.


Dispute resolution options—doing what’s best for you

Our lawyers make it a priority to understand the nuances of our clients’ goals and businesses, so we know what success means for each case. We also recognize that when you’re involved in a dispute, your legal expenses constitute only one concern. Litigation can disrupt your business and potentially harm your reputation. We talk candidly with you about this, making sure you understand the full costs, not just the economic costs. So, while we’re proud of our record of aggressively protecting our clients’ interests and securing successful verdicts in judge and jury trials, we fully realize that sometimes the best way to resolve a dispute is through negotiation, arbitration, or other types of alternative dispute resolution. Yet, if discussions around the negotiation table breakdown, please know this: Our business litigators have repeatedly prevailed in court on behalf of our clients in complex, serious, bet-the-company litigation.

Overview

  • Our litigation attorneys can help you with the full range of business disputes. Among others, they include:


    Breach of Fiduciary Duty

    Accusations of breach of fiduciary duty are serious and often extremely complicated. This complexity and the high burden placed on fiduciaries require a skilled business litigation lawyer to reach a successful resolution.


    Directors and Officers Liability

    Determining if officers or directors are legally liable for decisions that result in harm can be complex. Officers and directors enjoy certain protections from liability in commercial litigation, starting as soon as during the early jurisdictional stages, which must be approached with care. This type of liability doesn’t always attach to business financial losses.


    Partnership Disputes

    When partners disagree, it can put an entire business in jeopardy. However, there are many ways to peacefully and successfully resolve partnership disputes with the help of an experienced commercial litigation attorney.


    Trade Secret Misappropriation

    Sometimes a company’s most important assets aren’t just confidential but they’re also trade secrets. When these trade secrets are stolen, the ensuing litigation must be handled delicately by a business litigation law firm with significant experience with these matters.


    Breach of Contract

    Commercial litigation frequently starts when one party refuses to uphold or is prevented from upholding its end of a contract. Despite being a common occurrence, breach of contract disputes can be complicated by each contract’s unique nature and terms and other business aspects.


    Business Fraud

    Allegations of business fraud are incredibly serious and can sometimes involve criminal components. Only experienced commercial litigation attorneys should handle business fraud claims.


    Real Estate

    Real estate deals, whether residential or commercial, can be complicated; and, when these business deals go wrong, it can cost the parties millions. To protect your property and/or financial investment, always work with an experienced real estate litigation attorney.


    Shareholder Disputes

    All shareholders have rights; and, when these rights are infringed upon, business disputes quickly arise. If a shareholder dispute is not handled correctly, it can destroy a business’s reputation and profitability.


    Church Disputes

    Like all organizations, churches and other faith-based institutions have disputes; but, unlike other organizations, churches and other religious entities need an attorney who understands how they operate. Churches and other religious institutions seeking legal advice need to choose a business litigation attorney who can resolve disputes while preserving the sanctity and integrity of the church and its membership.

Business and Commercial Litigation

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