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1. McKool Smith Secures $32.5 Million Verdict for Canyon Ridge Resort Developers

McKool Smith secured a $32.5 million jury verdict on behalf of the developers of Canyon Ridge Resort against financial services firm Sterne Agee & Leach, Inc. and one of its former investment bankers, Edmund J. Wall.

The developers of Canyon Ridge Resort, a planned hotel and convention center located on Lookout Mountain in Walker County, Georgia, accused the defendants of breaching various contractual and fiduciary duties by creating and promoting a development project that competed with the development project Canyon Ridge Resort had hired the firm to help promote.

The seven-week trial began April 21 and concluded June 1, 2015, when the jury sided with the plaintiffs and awarded $20,599,000 in compensatory damages and imposed $11,500,000 in punitive damages on the defendants.  The court awarded an additional $4.5 million in prejudgment interest, for a total award of $36.5 million for the firm’s clients. The final judgment was entered on June 4, 2015.  The trial is reported to be the longest and the verdict one of the largest, if not the largest, in Hamilton County, Tennessee history.  The matter proceeded before the Honorable Circuit Court Judge J.B. Bennett. 

The McKool Smith trial team representing the Canyon Ridge developers included lead trial lawyer Robert Manley along with firm principals Gary Cruciani, John Campbell, Rosemary Snider, and Michael Fritz, and associates Avery Williams, Charles Fowler, Travis DeArman, Meredith Elkins, Paul Williams, and Blake Bailey.  The McKool Smith team was assisted by local counsel Bill Colvin of William G. Colvin PLLC.

2. McKool Smith Wins a Complete Defense Verdict on Behalf of CenturyLink

McKool Smith secured a complete defense trial verdict for its client CenturyLink in a securities fraud suit brought by five groups of investors and four of its current and past executives who accused the company of securities fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud.

The verdict was announced on July 23, 2015 following a 16-day jury trial before Judge Michael Landrum of the 113 Civil District Court of Harris County, TX in Houston. Ultimately, the twelve-person jury panel determined that CenturyLink had not committed any wrongdoing and returned a take-nothing defense verdict for McKool Smith’s client.  

The McKool Smith trial team representing CenturyLink was led by Robert Manley and included Blake BaileyCharles Fowler,J.R. Johnson, and Avery Williams. CenturyLink was also represented by co-counsel Edward “Ned” Bergin from Jones Walker. 

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