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Victory in Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Bet-the-Company Litigation

Ed Ruff led a Pretzel and Stouffer team that recently secured a victory in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, where the court affirmed a multi million-dollar judgment Ed and the team had won in the District Court for the firm’s client, a purchaser of land from a bankruptcy estate, against a claim by a surety company that challenged the validity of this transaction. The surety’s decade-long pursuit of this claim caused substantial harm to the young entrepreneurial purchaser and the near financial ruin of his company. In affirming the District Court’s rulings the Court of Appeals agreed with the arguments Ed and our team advanced that the evidence established that the firm’s client had purchased the land from the bankruptcy estate “free and clear of any claims”, including those of the surety, that the surety had no objectively reasonable basis to pursue the firm’s client, and that in doing so, the surety violated both the Bankruptcy Court’s order and standard for contempt under United States Supreme Court precedent. The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s judgment that the firm’s client was entitled to recover damages of $9.5M, plus costs and attorney’s fees.  These rulings from the Court of Appeals and the District Court are the most recent examples of the success Ed Ruff has achieved for our clients in high-stakes commercial litigation.  

March 2023