At Meissner Tierney we understand that our success is measured by nothing less and nothing more than the success of our clients. Indeed, our clients’ success is our singular motivation. In some settings “success” is difficult to measure—sometimes it’s a favorable settlement, other times it might be as simple as practical advice that helps a client achieve a particular business objective. In other settings “success” is crystal clear, typically in the form of a judgment, court decision, verdict or favorable settlement after victory on a litigated issue. In the past 160+ years, we have developed an unparalleled track record of achieving successful results for our clients. A small sampling of some of the more noteworthy matters and cases is listed below.
Mared Industries, Inc. v. Mansfield
2005 WI 5, 277 Wis. 2d 350, 690 N.W.2d 835. Our client was sued by competitor for breach of a no-hire agreement. Michael Cohen and his co-counsel obtained summary judgment for the firm’s client on the grounds of defective service of process on a receptionist of the corporation. The decision was affirmed on appeal to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which established precedent on the proper service of process on a corporation.
In the matter of sanctions imposed in State v. Gregory K. Nielsen
2011 WI 94, 337 Wis. 2d 302, 805 N.W.2d 353 (Wis. 2011). On behalf of the Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin, as an amicus curiae party, Thomas Hruz helped to persuade the Wisconsin Supreme Court to instruct the Wisconsin Court of Appeals—when that court considers imposing sanctions on an attorney or party for alleged rules violations—to first issue an order to show cause, so that such attorney or party can first attempt to explain why a rules violation should not be found and why sanctions should not be imposed. The decision is of great benefit to appellate practitioners in Wisconsin and consistent with notions of due process and fairness, all while fully retaining the Court of Appeals’ ability to fully enforce its rules.
Ratajczak v. Beazley Solutions Ltd., 870 F.3d 650 (7th Cir. 2017)
Obtained summary judgment holding that our insurer client did not owe the insureds a duty to defend or indemnify against claims for the adulteration of whey protein concentrate because the underlying allegations of fraudulent and deceitful actions by the insured did not constitute an “occurrence.” Affirmed on appeal.
Schueler v. Schoenecker, 2017 IL App (1st) 163377-U
Obtained summary judgment and dismissal with prejudice of claims that our client had breached a non-compete agreement. Affirmed on appeal.
“As counsel for corporate matters, MTFN consistently provides us with timely, cost effective solutions. Their understanding of entrepreneurial entities allows them to quickly frame practical answers that fit our needs. This team has great energy and passion to help our business, succeed and thrive, regardless of the challenges.”
– Paul Beste, Chief Operating Officer, Heartland Advisors, Inc.
Wilder Chiropractic v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co.
Obtained summary judgment on a breach of duty to defend and bad faith claim arising out of alleged failure to defend class action suit relating to claims for violation of TCPA.
Artuk v. AKT
Successfully defended claim, via three day evidentiary hearing, venued in United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, relating to enforcement of settlement and stock purchase agreement between two shareholders.
Oddsen v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co.
Obtained summary judgement and declaration of no duty to defend or indemnify for “failure to render aid” claim relating to heroin overdose claim.
Rydland v. Marina Cliff
Successfully tried insurance coverage action relating to alleged claim for bodily injury and property damage relating to water intrusion causing mold exposure. Plaintiff demanded $13 million at trial. A finding of no duty to defend or indemnify was obtained by post-trial motion.
Assisted Living Concepts v. Siegel Gallagher, Inc.
Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Successfully defended a construction claim levied against a real estate brokerage under a piercing the corporate veil theory, obtaining summary judgment on behalf of the clients, and affirmance of that decision at the Court of Appeals.
CBS v. James Hovde
Dane County Circuit Court. Successfully obtained a declaration that the client had no duty to defend or indemnify its insured in business dispute, successfully arguing that the plaintiff’s claims did not constitute an occurrence under the CGL policy.
Coyne v. JP Morgan Chase
Peoria County Circuit Court (Peoria, IL). Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a national financial services claim in an asbestos case. The case was originally filed in Cook County, Illinois, but on defendants’ motion the case was moved to the more favorable jurisdiction of Peoria County. In Peoria County, Mark Malloy successfully argued that the Plaintiff failed to satisfy the “frequency, regularity, and proximity test” required in Illinois asbestos litigation.
Wolfe v. Moran Food
Kenosha County Circuit Court. Successfully obtained a favorable jury verdict in a case filed against the client, a national grocery store operator, for personal injury arising out of negligent maintenance of the premises.
Anderson v. AW Chesterton
Madison County Circuit Court (Edwardsville, IL). Obtained summary judgment on behalf of the client, a global financial services firm, in a wrongful death asbestos case filed in Madison County, Illinois. The client had been sued as a successor to a company it had purchased through a series of transactions. Plaintiff alleged that he had been exposed to asbestos while working at the Xerox Building in Chicago in the early 1970s. Mark Malloy successfully argued that the plaintiff had not met its burden of establishing ownership by the predecessor corporation, which in fact was a trustee for the real owner of the building, or that successor liability flowed from the predecessor company to the client.
Acuity v. Chartis Specialty Insurance Company
The case arose out of a natural gas explosion which destroyed a church and damaged a number of buildings in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Acuity’s insured, an excavation contractor, was alleged to have ruptured the natural gas line that led to the explosion. Acuity defended and indemnified its insured under a commercial general liability policy issued to its insured, which did not contain an absolute pollution exclusion. The excavation contractor was also insured under a contractor’s pollution liability policy issued by Chartis. The trial court agreed with Acuity that natural gas constituted “pollution conditions” as defined in the Chartis policy and required Chartis to reimburse Acuity for one half of the defense and indemnity costs Acuity had paid on behalf of the excavation contractor. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals unanimously reversed. The Wisconsin Supreme Court then unanimously reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision, finding that, in the circumstances of the case, natural gas was an “irritant or contaminant” under the definition of “pollution conditions” in the Chartis policy and Chartis was required to reimburse Acuity as ordered by the trial court.
- Drafting, coordinating, and closing of multiple commercial real estate agreements and transactions for both buyers and sellers
- Drafting and negotiation of multiple commercial leasing agreements for both landlords and tenants
- Assisting with drafting and preparation of disclosure materials for multiple condominium properties
- Assisting with planning Regulation D/506(C) general solicitation offer and drafting of private placement memorandum for start-up entity
- Conducting various SEC filings and assisting with coordination of state and federal registration requirements for multiple investment advisory firms
- Assisting with analysis for and counseling of real estate developer on public trust, riparian rights, and other environmental property concerns
- Counseling multiple individuals on the construction of their estates plans, including with respect to trust considerations and real and personal property transfers
- Incorporating fourteen personal service corporations in conjunction with the reorganization of a practice-based physician group
- Organizing and creating multiple limited liability companies, S corporations, and other forms of business entities
- Counseling a local non-profit organization on charitable solicitation and raffle licensing and related administrative and statutory compliance issues
- Represented a large Wisconsin municipality in federal court defending RICO and civil rights claims, in which the RICO claims were dismissed and the civil rights claims settled for a nominal percentage of the plaintiffs’ alleged damages
- Represented a national beverage manufacturer in pursuing breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy, tortious interference, and trademark violation claims against the client’s former sales personnel
Cargill, Inc. v. Ace American Insurance Company, et al.
784 N.W.2d 341 (Minn. 2010). A complex environmental insurance coverage action in which the client, a nationally renown liability insurer, obtained summary judgment in its favor, with such decision being affirmed by the Minnesota Court of Appeals and then, on other grounds, by the Minnesota Supreme Court. In doing so, Attorneys Michael Cohen and Thomas Hruz convinced the Minnesota Supreme Court to overrule a 43-year-old precedent and create new law on contribution rights between insurers as to their duty to defend an insured, all in a manner favorable to our client and insurers generally.
St. Paul Mercury Ins. Co. v. Northern States Power Co.
2009 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 977 (Minn. Ct. App. 2009), rev. denied 2009 Minn. LEXIS 834 (Minn. 2009); Northern States Power Co. v. Continental Ins. Co., 2011 WI App 136, 337 Wis. 2d 427, 805 N.W.2d 734, rev. denied 2012 WI 2. A complex environmental insurance coverage action in which the firm’s clients, two excess insurance carriers, obtained a favorable ruling on venue of the action in Minnesota and Minnesota choice of law and subsequently obtained summary judgment on allocation of damages and justiciability. Cohen and his colleagues were also successful in obtaining a critical stay of the parallel Wisconsin action while the Minnesota action proceeded. The Minnesota District Court’s decisions were affirmed on appeal, and the insured’s petition for review to the Minnesota Supreme Court was denied. The Wisconsin circuit court then gave full-faith and credit to the Minnesota District Court’s holdings and dismissed the parallel Wisconsin action. The Wisconsin circuit court’s decisions were affirmed on appeal and the insured’s petition for review to the Wisconsin Supreme Court was denied.
Lyman, et al. v. St. Jude Medical, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (2005-2008)
A multi-million dollar breach of contract action by our client, an individual sales representative whose contract with a major, national medical device company was summarily and without legitimate cause terminated. The case settled soon after our client obtained a number of very favorable court rulings immediately prior to trial, including a ruling rejecting a Daubert challenge to our client’s damages expert while disqualifying the defendant’s corresponding expert.
Haase, et al. v. American Optical, et al.
2004 WI 97, 274 Wis. 2d 143, 682 N.W.2d 389. Our client, one of the nation’s largest industrial sand suppliers, was sued by a foundry worker with silicosis claiming strict liability for allegedly producing an unreasonably dangerous product. Cohen and his colleagues obtained a directed verdict after two weeks of trial. The directed verdict was upheld by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which held that sand in its raw form was not an unreasonably dangerous product as a matter of law, effectively creating legal immunity for our client.
Cababa v. St. Francis Anesthesiology, Inc.
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (2003). An anesthesiology group and its officers were sued by a former member of the group for national origin discrimination and retaliation claims. Cohen and his colleagues obtained summary judgment dismissing all claims against the defendants and an order for costs. The case established precedent on “stray remarks” as not constituting direct evidence of discrimination and the need for common decision makers to have performed the alleged discriminatory acts.
Emergency Physicians, Ltd. v. Infinity Healthcare Physicians, S.C., et al.
Brown County Circuit Court, Wisconsin (1999). Emergency physician group brought claims of tortious interference of non-compete agreements and conspiracy to injure business against client, who was awarded exclusive hospital contracts for emergency room services. Michael Cohen obtained summary judgment for our client dismissing all claims and declaring that the physician non-compete agreements were unenforceable as a matter of Wisconsin law.
Samuel C. Johnson 1988 Trust, et al. v. Bayfield County
649 F.3D 799 (7th Cir. 2011). Prevailed before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on behalf of private property owners who faced the prospect of a local government putting an ATV/snowmobile trail through the middle of their residences in northern Wisconsin, all without compensation. The case involved an abandoned railroad line which had its tracks removed in 1979, and after which private property owners purchased and built upon that land.
- Represented a national oil manufacturer in obtaining summary judgment dismissal of all tort claims brought by purchaser based on the economic loss doctrine, thereby substantially deceasing the scope of damages under contractual provisions
- Sole-chaired a Milwaukee County jury trial regarding an automotive engine dispute in which the jury found in favor of the consumer client and awarded the entirety of sought damages
- Represented a premises owner in obtaining summary judgment on all causes of action brought by injured worker based on the owner having relinquished custody and control of its premises to a third-party
- Second-chaired a jury trial representing an insurer regarding a first-party insurance dispute in which the jury found no breach of contract in favor of insurer, which consequently allowed court to dismiss bad faith claim as a matter of law