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Gerard V. Mantese argues historic shareholder oppression case in the Michigan Supreme Court

On December 10, 2013, Gerard V. Mantese argued in the Michigan Supreme Court on behalf of the plaintiff minority shareholder in the case of Madugula v. Taub, the first case regarding the Michigan shareholder oppression statute, MCL 450.1489, ever to be heard by the Michigan high Court.

Mantese was assisted by Brian Saxe on the brief-writing and oral argument preparation, which focused on three issues of great importance to the future of shareholder oppression litigation: (1) whether the plaintiff shareholder has the right to a jury trial for a claim under the oppression statute seeking damages or a buy-out of stock; (2) whether shareholder interests that arise from shareholder agreements can be actionable under the oppression statute; and (3) whether a shareholder can suffer disproportionate interference with his shareholder interests (e.g., by the termination of employment and other wrongful actions) under the oppression statute, even though he retains his stock and seat on the board of directors.

The Mantese team set forth deep, insightful, and persuasive analyses of the three issues, with several points going completely unrebutted by the opposing side. Through its participation in this litigation, the Mantese firm is playing an important role in this developing area of law and is helping to move the law forward soundly on these important issues. The firm’s role in this case further solidifies its position as a leader in shareholder oppression litigation. The firm regularly obtains the largest shareholder verdicts and settlements each year, as reported in the annual issue of Michigan Lawyers Weekly, including the largest recovery in Michigan ($13 Million) in 2012, obtained on the fifth day of trial.

The shareholder oppression statute was enacted in 1989 and regularly serves as the basis for claims of wrongdoing in the close corporation context. The issues at stake in the Madugula case touch on every fundamental aspect of the statute, and the resulting Court decision will be the foundational authority on shareholder oppression in the state of Michigan.

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