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Following bench trial David Rich obtains defense verdict in limited partnership dispute

David H. Rich obtained a defense verdict in a Norfolk Superior Court bench trial involving a limited partnership dispute among family members.

Shortly after the six-day trial ended, Judge Beverly J. Cannone found that the firm’s client – the sole general partner of the partnership – did not breach the partnership agreement or breach his fiduciary duty in responding to requests by his two brothers as limited partners for documents and information regarding the partnership’s finances.

The partnership was formed in 1999 under Texas law by the now-deceased father of the parties for the purpose of acquiring, holding, and disposing of securities and investments as part of his estate plan. The partnership agreement does not permit limited partners access to the partnership’s records except to the limited extent permitted under Texas statutory law.

The key theme of the defense was that the request by the two brothers to inspect the partnership’s records was not made for a proper purpose or in good faith, but instead was made to harass the client and leverage a buyout or dissolution of the partnership itself.

The judge also found in favor of Todd & Weld’s client on his defamation counterclaim, finding that the allegations of criminal misconduct and fraud were false and defamatory.  The judge awarded Todd & Weld’s client nominal damages on his defamation claim because of the extremely narrow audience to whom the defamatory statements were published.  The nominal damages award was designed to exonerate the firm’s client of claims and accusations of misconduct made against him. 

A partner at the firm and veteran trial lawyer, Mr. Rich focuses his litigation practice on complex business and commercial litigation, First Amendment law, and employment law.