McDonald Hopkins trial team wins punitive damage award for client

Following more than a three-day arbitration hearing, our Chicago Managing Member Rick Kessler and Member Peter Berk achieved a victory for a client in a suit alleging breach of fiduciary and fraud against a former employee. The monetary award also included a sum for punitive damages.


Trust clients win in Illinois case of first impression

McDonald Hopkins represented the defendants at trial in which the issue concerned the validity of several amendments to a trust. In this case, there was an initial trust and three subsequent amendments. However, the Plaintiffs did not recognize the most recent amendment which placed our client as Trustee and filed a lawsuit seeking a declaration that the most recent amendment was not valid, asserting undue influence as well as a technical basis with regard to delivery of the trust amendment.

Following a four day bench trial, the Court ruled in favor of our clients and addressed an issue of first impression in Illinois. The court found that a trust amendment that does not expressly revoke prior amendments, incorporates the prior amendments to the extent that they are not inconsistent with the most current amendment. Further, the victory resulted in a significant swing of assets going to our clients.


McDonald Hopkins guides Dominion East Ohio to significant victory regarding subsurface rights for natural gas storage

Dominion East Ohio, through its McDonald Hopkins lawyers, led by Mike Snyder, Jerry Cook and Ann Hunt, was awarded summary judgment in an order issued by Stark County Common Pleas Judge Kristin G. Farmer. Judge Farmer’s order eliminated a massive class action lawsuit, filed in an effort to undermine long-standing subsurface rights in oil and gas geologic formations located below formations Dominion currently uses for natural gas storage. The storage field extends over an area exceeding 162 square miles; the lawsuit implicated all land holders within that area.

Class representatives claimed they shared common attributes with owners of land throughout this expansive gas storage field. The Dominion team, consisting of 13 lawyers and paralegals at McDonald Hopkins, created a database that analyzed every historic oil and gas lease in the storage field. Consideration of the land rights claimed by the putative class representatives ultimately revealed that they held no valid interest in any oil or gas in the storage field, as a matter of law. Dominion moved for summary judgment on these issues, and was successful. This case has wide ranging implications for the oil and gas industry.

Mergers and Acquisitions

McDonald Hopkins represented IGP Sports & Entertainment Group (IGP) in connection with IMG Worldwide, Inc.'s acquisition of IGP

McDonald Hopkins represented Kenneth R. Kennerly, the sole shareholder of IGP Sports & Entertainment Group (IGP), in connection with IMG Worldwide, Inc.'s acquisition of IGP. IGP manages the PGA Tour's Honda Classic as well as several PGA Tour players. Mr. Kennerly is, and will continue to be, the Executive Director of the Honda Classic, and he will join IMG as the head of its North American golf events management division.

Business Restructuring and Bankruptcy

McDonald Hopkins completes unconventional sale of 110 franchise restaurants

McDonald Hopkins provided restructuring counsel to Kazi Foods, owner of 110 distressed franchise restaurants. McDonald Hopkins’ member attorney Stephen Gross successfully guided Kazi Foods through multiple Chapter 11 bankruptcies in several states, resulting in the sale of its assets to two Texas-based companies. Not only was he successful in saving the restaurants and associated jobs, but the client was able to pay back its creditor 5.6 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization. Crain’s Detroit named the Kazi deal the “Best Deal of the Year” under $100 million.

Business Restructuring and Bankruptcy

Last minute sale saves beloved Detroit bakery

McDonald Hopkins provided restructuring counsel to Awrey Bakeries, a more than 100 year old Detroit-based company on the brink of liquidating through a fire sale auction. Our attorneys successfully structured and closed a going concern Article 9 transaction over the holiday weekend when a buyer stepped forward just days before the auction was to take place. Our team of attorneys represented the company in this swift and successful sale to a Michigan-based buyer maximizing value for all parties involved, especially the local community.

Pro Bono

Significant pro bono victory for mental health rights in Ohio

The Ohio Supreme Court has issued its opinion in the matter of McQueen v. Court of Common Pleas of Cuyahoga County, Probate Div., Slip Op. 2013-Ohio-65 (Jan. 16, 2013). The Court determined that an indigent adult ward who was subject to a guardianship, was entitled to court-appointed counsel in a hearing to review the necessity of the continued guardianship. McDonald Hopkins LLC and Jeff Pollock, urging reversal of the appellate court’s denial of the ward’s right to counsel, submitted an amicus curiae brief on behalf of The Arc of Ohio, National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio, and People First of Ohio. The Court specifically referenced its reliance on the briefs of amici curiae in its decision. Read the Court’s decision here.

Pro bono at McDonald Hopkins:

Mergers and Acquisitions

McDonald Hopkins represented Monomoy Capital Partners, L.P.

McDonald Hopkins recently represented Monomoy Capital Partners, L.P., a New York-based private equity fund, in the acquisition of Raybestos PowerTrain, LLC from Sun Capital Partners. Headquartered in Crawfordsville, Indiana, Raybestos is one of the world's largest manufacturers of transmission and wet-wheel brake friction products, supplying both OEMs and automotive aftermarket customers.

Mergers and Acquisitions

McDonald Hopkins represented Ninth Street Capital Partners

McDonald Hopkins represented private investment firm Ninth Street Capital Partners in its sale of Nebraska-based Castronics LLC to Inspection Oil Field Services, a portfolio company of Baltimore private equity firm Calvert Street Capital Partners. Ninth Street had acquired in December 2009 the assets of Castronics, a provider of pipe threading, perforating and refurbishing services to oil and gas drillers in the Rocky Mountain and Upper Midwest regions. The transaction generated a 3.5x cash-on-cash return and an 81 percent IRR for Ninth Street's investors.

Mergers and Acquisitions

McDonald Hopkins represented Sanders Tools & Supplies, Inc.

McDonald Hopkins represented Sanders Tools & Supplies, Inc., one of the premier industrial distributors of cutting tools, abrasives, and precision instruments, in its sale to BlackHawk Industrial Distribution, Inc. Sanders Tools & Supplies, Inc., based in Peoria, Illinois, was the fourth acquisition for the private equity-backed BlackHawk Industrial. John Spinoso, former CEO and owner of Sanders, said: "The team at Sanders Tool Supply Division will be well served under the support and structure of the BlackHawk Industrial leadership."

Women-Owned Businesses

Michelle Kantor recognized by the South African Consulate General in Chicago

Michelle Kantor, a Member in our Chicago office, was recognized by the South African Consulate General in Chicago for her "commitment to the launching of the first-ever United States-South Africa Women's Business Forum from 24-28 October 2011." Amb. Nomvume P. Magaqa, also noted: "With your help and participation, we have successfully introduced an innovative new instrument for the empowerment of women-owned businesses in South Africa... It is only with the continued support of organizations like McDonald Hopkins LLC that this conference will truly establish itself."

Michelle Kantor has devoted most of her more than 24-year career to providing legal assistance and helping women-owned, minority-owned and veteran-owned businesses to be successful. She is a frequent speaker at seminars, conventions and trade associations nationwide on topics focused on assisting minority and women-owned companies. Michelle is also Chair of our firm's Diversity Committee.

Mergers and Acquisitions

McDonald Hopkins represents Canadian Public Company in acquisition of leading gallium producer

McDonald Hopkins represented Neo Material Technologies Inc. (“Neo”), a Canadian corporation listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, in its acquisition of an 80% interest in Gallium Compounds LLC. Gallium Compounds, based in Quapaw, Oklahoma is a recognized world leader in special, value-added gallium products. Neo is a producer, processor and developer of neodymium-iron-boron magnetic powders, rare earths and zirconium based engineered materials and applications, and other rare metals and their compounds through its Magnequench and Performance Materials divisions.

Mergers and Acquisitions

McDonald Hopkins represents MCM Capital Partners in acquisition of valueaAdded chemical manufacturer

McDonald Hopkins represented MCM Capital Partners in its recapitalization of Zinkan Enterprises Inc., a manufacturer and value added distributor of specialty chemicals serving mining, industrial and commercial customers. Founded in 1982, Zinkan, headquartered in Twinsburg, Ohio, is the premier provider of proprietary formulations used in mining, general industrial water treatment and wastewater applications. Zinkan’s current product line includes airborne particulate control chemicals, flocculants, frothers, freeze conditioners, defoamers, pond treatment products, pH control products, cooling tower biocides and descaling chemicals. MCM Capital Partners, founded in 1992, is a private equity firm focused on acquiring niche manufacturers, value added distributors and service companies that generate up to $75 million in annual revenues and have enterprise values of less than $50 million.