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Press Releases

Fish's Melsheimer Helps Shareholder Group Win One of the Top 20 Verdicts of 2009

May 10, 2010

Press Releases

Fish's Melsheimer Helps Shareholder Group Win One of the Top 20 Verdicts of 2009

May 10, 2010

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DALLAS – “A victory for Main Street over Wall Street,” is how attorney Tom Melsheimer from the Dallas office of Fish & Richardson describes the $178.7 million jury verdict he helped win last summer for a group of minority shareholders who nearly missed out on millions after investing in an NL Industries Inc. subsidiary.

The substantial verdict in the 192nd District Court in Dallas County represents one of largest jury awards in Texas in 2009, and recently was recognized by The National Law Journal as the 11th largest in the country in the Top Verdicts of 2009. The annual list of the nation’s top verdicts is based on research compiled by American Lawyer Media’s Verdict Search, the recognized leader in U.S. verdict information.

Mr. Melsheimer led a team of Fish & Richardson attorneys who helped secure the verdict against NL Industries after jurors found that the company breached its fiduciary duty to the shareholders under a 1998 investment agreement. Under the agreement, plaintiffs Efficasey Environmental LLC, Highland Environmental Management LLC, and Industrial Recovery Capital Holdings Company invested in NL Environmental Management Services Inc. with an option to sell the stock back after seven years. During trial, Mr. Melsheimer told jurors how NL Industries and the company’s leader, Dallas businessman Harold Simmons, acted in bad faith by artificially reducing the value of the company’s assets in the months immediately before the plaintiffs were able to sell back their stock.

“This was an instance where the defendants spent an inordinate amount of time and effort to do something wrong, when they know how to do it right,”says Mr. Melsheimer, managing principal of Fish & Richardson’s Dallas office.

“This may be among the most satisfying cases I’ve had in my career,” adds Mr. Melsheimer. “Despite the business complexities of the case, the jurors understood completely what had happened and brought back a verdict that restored the money that was wrongfully denied to our clients.”

Plaintiffs Efficasey Environmental and Industrial Recovery Capital Holdings Company were represented by Steve Susman from the Susman Godfrey law firm.

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