March 19, 2014

Cairns Defense Win Publicized by DRI's The Voice

CONCORD, NH — The Voice, a publication of DRI — The Voice ofthe Defense Bar, carried news of a recent defense litigation win by Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell attorneys R. Matthew Cairns and Erik G. Moskowitz. The information is reprinted below.

And the Defense Wins

In December 2012, DRI members R. Matthew Cairns and Erik G. Moskowitz of Gallagher Callahan & Gartrell, PC in Concord, New Hampshire, tried Property Portfolio Group, LLC v. Town of Derry in which plaintiff alleged that Town employees conspired to push through permits to allow a fire station that abutted plaintiff’s five unit apartment house to be converted into a restaurant. This case was but one of over 10 different actions the plaintiff brought against the Town, arising out of the firehouse conversion. As a side note, the plaintiff LLC was owned entirely by counsel’s wife. Before and during trial, Cairns and Moskowitz were able to block plaintiff’s experts from testifying to over $500,000 of alleged damages. The plaintiff asked for $600,000 in closing.

The jury returned a plaintiff’s verdict in the amount of $2,900. The court first rejected plaintiff’s request for attorneys’ fees but on reconsideration, awarded $50,000, despite counsel admitting that he did not keep any records of his time and had the case on a contingency.

The plaintiff appealed the verdict and the exclusion of its experts. The Town cross-appealed the award of fees. By a unanimous unpublished Order on the briefs, the New Hampshire Supreme Court (No. 2013-0304) found that the plaintiff did not demonstrate reversible error on the decisions limiting its experts and denying additur. The court went on to find that neither the jury nor the court made any finding of bad faith sufficient to deviate from the American Rule regarding the award of fees. The court also noted that because counsel’s client was owned by his wife, it was unclear that the plaintiff had any enforceable obligation to its counsel at all.

Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell is a leading business and litigation law firm located in Concord, New Hampshire.

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Matt Cairns at 603-545-3622.