Jenner & Block

Judge Upholds Firm’s Defense Verdict In $250 Million International Partnership Dispute

On Thursday, July 25, a judge upheld a defense verdict the firm obtained in a $250 million jury trial over a long-running partnership dispute between brothers concerning various domestic and international businesses.

At issue in the case was an alleged oral partnership agreement between five brothers, under which one of them claimed that all money made from their businesses—primarily diamond and real estate interests worth an estimated $7 billion—was to be shared equally among the brothers.

That brother sued our client and several of our client’s companies for breach of oral contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and breach of fiduciary duty for wrongfully withholding $250 million from him as his share of the alleged partnership interest in the real estate holdings.

Following a two-week trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court and one day of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict in our client’s favor on all three causes of action, finding that the plaintiff’s claims fell outside the statute of limitations.

The plaintiff then filed a post-trial motion seeking declarative relief, accounting and equitable estoppel. After a bench trial, Judge Mark Mooney noted in his decision denying the motion that the plaintiff admitted during the course of the trial to committing “outright perjury” and entering into a conspiracy to deprive another brother of business profits. “Far more damaging to plaintiff’s equitable estoppel claim is the doctrine of unclean hands,” the judge wrote. “It is hard to imagine a clearer case for the application of the unclean hands doctrine.”

Partner Rick Richmond led the team, which included Partner AnnaMarie A. Van Hoesen and Associates Nayiri K. Pilikyan and Camila A. Connolly. Paralegals Chris Ward and Rachel Yee and legal assistants Laura Saltzman, Julie Lontok, Maria Reyes, Jennifer Rodriguez and Elizabeth Visick also provided support.