Burford Perry combines more than 75 years of collective experience, in-depth legal and business knowledge and tailored strategies to address your problem and protect your interests. Whether you’re pursuing a claim because you believe a fiduciary breach has occurred or you’re defending against allegations of a breach, we’ll guide you every step of the way. Often we can resolve matters to your advantage around the negotiation table. But if the best course of action requires taking your dispute to court, please know this: Our litigators have a long history of courtroom success for our clients; we know how to prevail at trial.
Robert Burford led trial team to $54 million judgment for client in shareholder derivative, breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit
Burford Perry client Laura Yosowitz had an ownership interest in a real estate technology company, Greenlet LLC. But her former partner Martin Kay, who started Greenlet with Laura and one other owner, transferred all that company’s assets—technology, data, customers, and business plan—to a new company that became wildly successful. He was the CEO and majority owner of the new company valued at more than $130 million. Our client’s ownership interest, by his actions, had been stripped of any value.
Burford Perry Approach:
We pursued our client’s claims as a derivative action for Greenlet against Kay for breaching his fiduciary duties to Greenlet. Doing this transformed this suit from post-marital dispute to nine-figure lawsuit. Robert Burford questioned Martin Kay for most of three days in trial, laying bare his self-dealing and disregard for Greenlet and the law. The trial team successfully showed the jury that Yosowitz was a member and owner of Greenlet. And our expert witness offered unchallenged testimony establishing the value of Kay’s new company.
Following a nine-day trial in February 2023, the jury unanimously found that Greenlet had been damaged in the amount of $138 million by Kay’s breaches of fiduciary duty and that Yosowitz was a member of Greenlet. We showed the Judge, in post-verdict briefing and hearings, that justice required our client’s share of the derivative damages be awarded to her directly from Kay because, otherwise, Kay could interfere with her ability to recover her rightful share. The Judge entered judgment awarding our client $54 million in damages and $2 million in attorneys’ fees.
The case is Laura Elizabeth Yosowitz, et al. v. Martin Lee Kay, et al., No. 2018-37750; In the 334th Judicial District of Harris County, Texas.
Featured Client Story
Comprehensive knowledge drives top-tier client service
Modern businesses operate in a highly complex landscape, and we recognize these dynamics and the multifaceted relationships among investors, partners, shareholders, officers, directors, agents, executors, administrators and trustees. In addition to deep experience with understanding the rules of fiduciary duty, we distinguish ourselves from other lawyers because of our hands-on experience and broad, holistic knowledge base in business practices, accounting and finance principles and tax law. One of our partners previously served as a tax attorney, another was a business owner, and yet another brings a successful background in finance.
Knowing where to look for abuse and how to ferret it out
Primarily serving entrepreneurs, first-generation immigrant business leaders and small- to mid-sized enterprises, our lawyers provide highly informed guidance to individuals and ownership groups of closely held organizations. We’re well-versed on scenarios that trigger disputes, including self-dealing, co-mingling of personal and business assets, and flawed accounting and expensing practices, among others. Many breaches of fiduciary duty aren’t immediately apparent and require thorough and detailed examinations of accounts and transactions. We draw on our ability to identify, uncover and tackle misdeeds. Once a breach has been identified, our team then capably and ethically works to enforce the fiduciary duty rules and recoup damages through arbitration or litigation.
Working both sides of the docket offers insightful perspective
On the other end of the spectrum, fiduciaries accused of breaching their duties need skilled, adept lawyers who are familiar with the nuances of this complex area of the law. We leverage our legal know-how, evaluate the facts and circumstances of each case, craft a strong counter strategy, and mount a vigorous defense for our clients. We’re dedicated to ensuring clients are treated fairly and can fully exercise their rights within legal boundaries to see justice served.
Our team’s experience and success in representing both plaintiffs and defendants gives us a 360-degree perspective of fiduciary duties. This provides us the ability to foresee what moves the other side will likely make, and then act accordingly to advance our clients’ interests.
Polite and professional yet persistent and persuasive
Investors also turn to our legal team when they have concerns with companies in which they’ve got a stake—such as not getting sufficient and transparent financial reporting or being unable to reap expected benefits from their investments. Through legal means, we’re able to force businesses to open their books and expose mismanagement and malfeasance with our clients’ investments. While we always approach matters with civility and professionalism, if circumstances warrant, we are always ready to vigorously seek redress.
Always communicating frankly, our team provides straightforward assessments and salient advice. We ask probing questions and listen carefully to form a clear, detailed picture of the fiduciary circumstances our clients are experiencing. Additionally, we align the staffing and fee arrangements to work best for our clients and their organizations.
We’re collegial among ourselves, very responsive to our clients and always accessible. Our mission is to work diligently and efficiently to relieve clients of their burdens so they can do what they set out to do: Manage their companies and attain their business objectives.