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Graves Garrett Successfully Defends Three Companies in Fraud Trial

Graves Garrett attorney Dane Martin recently obtained a major victory at trial on behalf of clients Pitman Utility Products, Inc., Ashton Family Limited Partnership and Crash Rescue Equipment Service, Inc. Graves Garrett was retained on the matter specifically for representation at trial, which commenced in June and was decided late last month. The firm joined co-counsel Schlagel Kinzer, LLC, led at trial by partner Lance Kinzer.

The plaintiff, a creditor of Pitman, brought suit against the defendants, alleging that they had violated the Missouri Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act (MUFTA). In particular, the plaintiff asserted that Pitman had fraudulently transferred its assets to Crash Rescue under an asset purchase agreement. Furthermore, the plaintiff alleged that Pitman had considered monies loaned by friends and family of its president as debt when it should have been classified as equity and, thus, not included in the purchase agreement. The plaintiff sought the value of its debt, collection costs, attorneys’ fees, interest at 1.5 percent per month, expert witness fees, and punitive damages. The total potential damages were in excess of $1 million.

The defense argued that Crash Rescue had provided “reasonably equivalent value” to Pitman under the purchase agreement and also engaged in a “battle of the experts” regarding the fair market value of Pitman’s assets. The defense also put forth evidence supporting the transaction and proving that Pitman had no intent to defraud the plaintiff.

The court agreed with the defense, finding that the plaintiff had failed to meet its burden of proof on all claims and that the arguments and expert testimony provided by the defense were more credible on the matter. The court also found that the defense proved its affirmative defenses. Circuit Judge Jennifer M. Phillips ruled in favor of the defendants on all eight counts.

Graves Garrett has extensive experience in handling a wide range of commercial and business litigation for a variety of companies, including some of the region’s most prominent corporations. The firm’s attorneys are well-versed in managing matters at every stage of the litigation process – from initial filings and discovery to bench and jury trials to appellate proceedings.

Graves Garrett, LLC, represents businesses and executives nationwide in commercial litigation, white collar criminal defense litigation, and all levels of legal compliance. The firm offers comprehensive and creative solutions to complex legal problems along with unparalleled client service and a true commitment to obtaining the best result possible.


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