What was your toughest case?
Chehardy, Sherman, Williams, Recile and Hayes
The most challenging case I have handled involved representing a minority member/shareholder of a family business. My client and his wife started the company many years ago, and along the way, permitted other family members to acquire an ownership interest in the company. For many different reasons, my client decided to withdraw from the company and hired us to obtain the fair market value of his share. Like any dispute involving family members, this case was complicated because of the emotional toll on all parties involved. Separating emotions from legal issues is always a difficult task, especially when you form a close relationship with your client.
One of my toughest cases was a trademark infringement lawsuit where our client, the brand owner, sued an infringer. The case was straightforward, and my client was headed toward an easy victory on the merits, which prompted the defendant to settle. That’s when the real trouble started. First, the defendant refused to honor settlement terms the parties had agreed to just a few weeks earlier, forcing us to go back to court to enforce the settlement. Later, once the settlement issues were resolved, the defendant simply ignored both the settlement agreement and a related consent judgment, forcing us to file a motion for contempt which eventually resulted in a full hearing before the court. Our client ultimately prevailed. Thankfully, our client understood that winning on the merits is sometimes just the beginning of the fight.
“I typically wear the hat of commercial litigator, but [also]serve as a Swiss law expert in U.S. litigations, given my background as a Swiss-trained lawyer. My first such matter involved a high-stakes case with complex questions of Swiss probate and estate law. The case involved the estate of a golden-era Hollywood actor who passed in Switzerland. Translating Swiss precedent and doctrine from German and French into English, and finding ways to explain concepts of Swiss law that did not have direct U.S. parallels, made this matter particularly challenging yet rewarding.”
Bruce A. Cranner
Partner | Talley, Anthony, Hughes & Knight, L.L.C.
At the end of the Cold War, a lot of grain to support Russia was being shipped through the Port of New Orleans. The river was full of Russian ships. A young Ukrainian man named Miroslav Medvid was crewman on one of these ships. He was Roman Catholic and felt oppressed by Russian/Soviet regime then governing his country, so when his shipped anchored off Belle Chasse he slipped over the side and swam for the freedom he hoped to find. A kindly couple dutifully turned him into federal officials who listened to his plea for asylum and brought him back to his ship. A Ukrainian/American aid society were mounting an effort to arrest the Russian ship and save Medvid from certain imprisonment or death. I accepted the case and over the next few days arrested the ship and, under my senior partners, litigated to retain the vessel in New Orleans. The testimony was compelling and dramatic, but the outcome was, unfortunately, predictable. The arrest was lifted, the ship departed and all hope that Medvid would survive was lost. I regretted that outcome for years until, just a few years ago, the local press reported that a certain Ukrainian priest had spent some time in New Orleans. It was Miroslav Medvid who returned to Ukraine safely after all to serve and live his faith.