Home

Michael Mihm Wins $12.8M Judgment against Law Firm Partner
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

On Friday, a Utah Jury decided for Mihm against Portland, Oregon based law firm Stoel Rives LLP and the firm’s Salt Lake City partner. The jury found Stoel Rives and partner Thomas Ellison negligent in the handling of a development rights application filed on behalf of a client. A negligence charge considers that due diligence was not done and that there is a duty not taken seriously.

Deliberating 6 hours before a 14 hour trial, the jury decided that Ellison, chair of its national real estate and construction practice group, mishandled the application, costing David Bernolfo, owner of the 910 Cattle Ranch in Utah, $21.4 million according to the Denver Business Journal.

  
What
Where


Michael Mihm represented Bernolfo and asked for full damages, but the jury put 40% of the blame on Bernolfo and gave his award a discount. Defendant Stoel Rives plans on appealing the decision of the court. Brad Tellam, counsel of Stoel Rives’ firm said, “[we are] disappointed in the jury’s decision and will appeal it. We look forward to discussing the ultimate outcome of the case when it occurs.”

A fiduciary’s duty is to give reasonable care to the subject matter of the client in confidence, more or less. Though this case started in 2005, and many changes have happened in our national laws and economy with perturbations and recessions, a fiduciary’s duty has not been redefined. That hasn’t changed in any industry.

In 2005, cattle rancher “Bernolfo began exploring the possibility of developing his ranch into a resort.” This palatial resort would have “more than 100 residential units and 100,000 square feet of commercial space.” Thomas Ellison, who at the time was Bernolfo’s counsel, filed a development application with the county seeking the go ahead for the project, according to the Portland Business Journal. According to Michael Mihm, Ellison neglected to file critical paperwork that would have protected 910 Cattle Company’s development rights. Summit County, the area where Plaintiff Bernolfo’s resort would have been located, changed its laws soon after the application filing. The vested-density code that calculates and determines lot size was amended. This reduced the ranch’s vested-rights density by 40% changing the number of residential units that could be included on the ranch’s property.

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!




Ultimately this was simply an incompetent and unfinished application. Luckily, the incompetence was well understood by the jury. Ellison lost the case because he was negligent of his responsibility as a fiduciary. This clearly is understood to be the primary factor that caused Mihm’s epic win.





 

Interesting Legal Sites You May Like


BCG FEATURED JOB

Locations:

Keyword:



Search Now

Employment Litigation Attorney with 5+ years of experience

USA-CA-Los Angeles

Los Angeles office is seeking a labor and employment litigation attorney with 5+ years of experience...

Apply Now

Capital Markets Staff Attorney with 6+ years of experience

USA-NY-New York City

New York City office is seeking a capital markets staff attorney with 6+ years of experience. Candid...

Apply Now

Litigator with 5-10 years of general insurance defense experience

USA-FL-West Palm Beach

Boutique litigation firm is looking for an experienced litigator with 5-10 years of general insuranc...

Apply Now

Attorney with 1-5 years of family law experience

USA-CO-Castle Rock

Castle Rock office of our client seeks attorney with preferably 1-5 years of experience. The candida...

Apply Now

RELEVANT JOBS

Legal Assistant - Immediate Opening!

USA-PA-Scranton

Steppacher Law Offices, a Scranton-based workers comp, social security, and personal injury law offi...

Apply now

Associate Attorney

USA-CA-El Segundo

Small plaintiff’s employment litigation law firm in Los Angeles, California seeks highly motiv...

Apply now

Civil & Business Litigation / Transactional Attorney

USA-CA-Clovis

Law firm with primary emphasis in Business & Civil Litigation and transactional work, seeks confiden...

Apply now

CIVIL LITIGATION ATTORNEY - Employment

USA-CA-Fresno

Lang, Richert & Patch a Fresno area AV-rated law firm located in the highly desirable Fig Garden Fin...

Apply now

Most Popular

SEARCH IN ARCHIVE

To Top