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2011 GRAY PLANT MOOTY YEAR IN REVIEW


Bankruptcy Litigation: Bankruptcy Trustee Phillip L. Kunkel


In 2006, Gray Plant Mooty attorney Phillip Kunkel was appointed trustee in an involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy case brought against GFI America, Inc., a Minneapolis-based beef processor. After he was appointed trustee, Phil worked with several Gray Plant Mooty attorneys to successfully recover on a multi-million dollar insurance claim, resolve several preference actions, and liquidate the debtor’s other assets. As a result of the Gray Plant Mooty team’s efforts, unsecured creditors of GFI America received a distribution in 2011 of nearly 50 percent of their claims, which is an extraordinary recovery percentage in any bankruptcy case.


Business Litigation: NGP Software


This Washington, DC, provider of political campaign software worked with Gray Plant Mooty to win a major victory in federal court last September, when the judge issued a 43-page decision denying Aristotle International, an NGP competitor, injunctive relief under the Lanham Act. The competitor accused NGP of engaging in false and deceptive advertising, and the judge’s decision was the conclusion of a six-year legal battle between the parties. The case involved 15 depositions and more than 300 exhibits and culminated in a five day trial. It was a true team effort for the Gray Plant Mooty attorneys and staff involved.


Business Mergers & Acquisitions: ABRA, Inc.


Gray Plant Mooty represented this Minneapolis-based owner and franchisor of auto body and glass repair centers in an acquisition transaction involving an East Coast private equity firm. Gray Plant Mooty’s representation included advising ABRA on all aspects of the transaction, negotiating and structuring the acquisition documents, preparing disclosure documents, and responding to the buyer’s due diligence investigation. Members of the existing ABRA executive team will continue to manage ABRA under the new ownership structure.


Employee Benefits Litigation: City of Minneapolis


Gray Plant Mooty attorneys assisted the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office in litigation ultimately decided by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Mayor R.T. Rybak hailed the decision as “a strong, clear victory” for Minneapolis taxpayers. As Mayor Rybak said in a press release, the ruling “upheld critical parts of a lower court ruling” that certain city pension funds had “overpaid their benefits from 2000 through 2009, meaning that Minneapolis taxpayers were overcharged to the tune of millions of dollars.” The decision validated the city’s efforts to require the pension funds to recoup excess benefit payments, which was the issue Gray Plant Mooty attorneys focused their attention on.


Employment Litigation: Private Employer


Gray Plant Mooty defended this client through a successful three-day trial in Washington County, Minnesota. The case involved a former employee suing an employer pursuant to the Minnesota Human Rights Act. The employee asserted three claims for age and “regarded as” disability discrimination as well as retaliation. Gray Plant Mooty attorneys successfully obtained summary judgment on the plaintiff’s age and retaliation claims. After the bench trial on the remaining disability discrimination count, the district court found for our client, giving the employer a complete victory and an award of costs. The plaintiff did not appeal the court’s decision.


Health Care Compliance: Minnesota Health Care Provider


Gray Plant Mooty represented a large Minnesota health care provider on a drug diversion matter in 2011, conducting an internal investigation and coordinating with law enforcement when the provider discovered that someone had tampered with pain medication at one of its facilities. After the incident was reported to local authorities, Gray Plant Mooty attorneys helped law enforcement investigators identify a suspect—an employee of the facility—who ultimately confessed and was charged criminally. Because the facility where the incident occurred provides care to vulnerable adults, Gray Plant Mooty also managed the activities required of the provider under Minnesota’s Vulnerable Adults Act. The health care provider was not charged or fined for the incident.


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