Successfully Obtained Dismissal Order
A real estate lawyer conducted the closing for the sale of a house to plaintiff. Approximately 10 years after the closing, plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging the lawyer negligently failed to provide him with clear title to the property. The basis of plaintiff’s lawsuit was the opinion of another lawyer (whom plaintiff had initially contracted to work on an unrelated matter) who opined the title work was not correct and therefore plaintiff did not have clear title to his house. Plaintiff, however, still owned his house and had never had any challenges to his title to the property. We successfully caused the dismissal of all claims against our client at the trial court level because plaintiff did have clear title to the property. Plaintiff objected to the dismissal order but did not do so in a timely manner. The trial court then denied plaintiff’s objections to the dismissal order, and he appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. The West Virginia Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s decision, resulting in a full and final dismissal of all claims against our client.
Defense of Toxic Tort and Environmental Action
Successfully defended several manufacturers in toxic tort litigation and continue to serve as common counsel to over 40 potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to defend claims for alleged groundwater contamination by Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet. Negotiated resolution with Cabinet on behalf of 40 PRPs to monitor site for next 12 years pursuant to negotiated Agreed Order and Operations & Management Plan.
Bulk Terminals/George O’Bryan v. Atlantic Richfield, No. 2005-CA-002448-MR, 2007 Ky. App. LEXIS 78 (Ky. App. March 9, 2007). Click HERE to view the decision.
White Consolidated Industries, Inc. v. Westinghouse Electric Corporation
We were lead counsel for Westinghouse Electric Corporation in litigation involving contract, CERCLA and other claims against Westinghouse arising out of clean up of TCE contamination at a manufacturing facility sold by Westinghouse to plaintiff. We obtained summary judgment for Westinghouse on all claims, which was affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. White Consolidated Industries, Inc. v. Westinghouse Electric Corporation, 179 F.3d 403 (6th Cir. 1999).
International Arbitration Representations of US and Foreign Clients
Mr. Bilaniuk’s international arbitration experience includes a range of disputes with U.S. or foreign clients.
- Represented a Fortune 500 company as claimant in an ICC arbitration against a foreign government over a breach of contract dispute for commercial services that resulted in a favorable settlement.
- Represented a Middle Eastern company in an ICC arbitration against a Forbes Global 2000 European company for breach of contract.
Successful Representation of Vehicle Distributor at Trial
We represented a vehicle distributor in a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The plaintiffs, a married couple, claimed the vehicle they leased from our client had multiple defects that substantially impaired its use, value, and safety. The plaintiffs asserted a claim for breach of express warranty under California’s Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, commonly known as the “lemon law,” as well as a claim for breach of the implied warranty of merchantability. They sought restitution from the vehicle distributor of all payments they had made under the lease, as well as the amounts they still owed. The plaintiffs were also asking for civil damages of up to two times any compensatory damages award. At the close of the plaintiffs’ case, the court granted our motion for judgment as a matter of law on the implied warranty claim and the request for civil damages, and the jury ultimately found in favor of our client on the plaintiffs’ Song-Beverly express warranty claim, awarding them nothing.
Commercial Litigation Involving Software Supplier to a Vehicle Distributor
We represented an international motor vehicle distributor in a commercial litigation dispute with one of its software suppliers. We successfully defended the company in AAA arbitration proceedings in Des Moines, Iowa, resulting in a favorable resolution for our client.
Successful Representation of Client in Premises Liability Case
We successfully obtained a complete dismissal of a lawsuit brought against our client, a local Catholic parish, in a premises liability case. In this case, the plaintiff tripped and fell in a landscaping area near the church entrance. She alleged the parish was negligent for the installation and maintenance of certain landscaping features and demanded damages for her significant injuries.
After discovery, we filed a motion for summary judgment on behalf of our client, arguing that under Ohio’s open and obvious doctrine, the parish owed no duty to the plaintiff as a matter of law. Instead, as we established through photographs, documents we obtained through discovery, and deposition testimony from the plaintiff herself, the area where she fell would have been observable to a reasonable person if she had simply looked down. After summary judgment briefing and oral argument, the trial court agreed. The judge granted our motion from the bench and dismissed the case with prejudice.
The favorable result for our client reinforces venerable premises liability law in Ohio and provides another precedent for property owners in the future.
Defining the EPA’s Water Quality Standards and Permitting Authority
We represented the Kentucky Coal Association (KCA) when the Environmental Protection Agency attempted to implement a final guidance that enabled blockage of Clean Water Act permits for coal mining operations.
The EPA issued final guidance in July 2011 which directed its field offices to object to state-issued permits in certain ecoregions in Appalachia (particularly Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia) unless they contained a “reasonable potential analysis” prior to permit issuance (even if the mine was new and therefore no site-specific data upon which to base an RPA was available) and/or numerical conductivity limits, which allowed EPA to block permits for virtually all new or expanded surface coal mines in Eastern Kentucky or West Virginia. We represented the KCA in arguing that the EPA had exceeded its authority in issuing the final guidance because it went beyond their oversight as outlined in the Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. We also alleged that the EPA’s final guidance infringed upon the states’ authority to enact and monitor their own water quality standards.
Our case was transferred to the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., where the KCA became a co-plaintiff along with the National Mining Association, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the state of West Virginia, and the city of Pikeville (Ky.). Working in coordination with other plaintiff counsel, we prepared extensive briefs, including researching and addressing Kentucky-specific requirements related to water conductivity standards. We also participated in oral arguments during a hearing, demonstrating that the power to set water quality standards is delegated to the states and that the EPA did not follow the formal rulemaking process to attempt to implement a federal standard.
After hearing oral arguments, the judge ruled that EPA’s reliance upon the final guidance to object to and thereby block the issuance of individual Clean Water Act permits for new or expanded surface coal mines in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia was unjustified and unlawful. Unfortunately, EPA continues to refuse to issue the permits at issue in direct contravention of the court’s order. The case is now on appeal before the U.S. Circuit Court of the District of Columbia.
Learn more about this case in the article: Judge Sides With Coal Industry Against EPA
Lach v. Man O’War, LLC - Breach of Fiduciary Duties
We represented our client, who was a limited partner in a shopping center limited partnership. Our client did not consent when the general partners changed from limited liability partnership to limited liability corporation, which changed some of the rights associated with a limited partner. The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that this change in the form of the entity without obtaining the consent of the limited partner was breach of fiduciary duties by the general partners.
Charging Order Against Three LLCs Reversed
After a judgment had already been entered, the defendant hired Dinsmore to represent him in connection with the plaintiffs’ collection efforts. The plaintiffs claimed our client was a member of three limited liability companies, and they asked the trial court to charge his alleged membership interests. We opposed the plaintiffs’ motion for charging order because our client was not an owner of any of the LLCs, as evidenced by their operating agreements. Nevertheless, the trial court granted the plaintiffs’ request. The First District Court of Appeals reversed, finding the trial court “lacked competent evidence of [our client’s] membership” in the companies. The First District held: “when determining if an individual is a member of a limited liability company for the purpose of R.C. 1705.19, the trial court must consider records maintained by the company for the purpose of its corporate governance that name those owners entitled to receive distributions and share in the profits and losses of the company.” Because “the only records of the limited liability companies before the trial court established” that our client was not a member of the LLCs, the trial court erred in granting the plaintiffs’ motion for charging order.
National Health Care Litigation Counsel for Large Multi-State Provider
Serve as national litigation counsel to a large, multi-state provider, overseeing litigation and serving as lead counsel nationwide. By taking consistent positions on discovery and other issues in every case, clients are better positioned to avoid litigation potholes and arrive at more favorable outcomes.
When an asset-seller sought to pass its responsibility to contribute to the cost to cleanup a landfill in West Chester, Ohio, to an asset-buyer, Borden, Inc. turned to Dinsmore for counsel and defense. In a bench trial with numerous witnesses and hundreds of thousands of documents, we convinced the court that the asset-seller retained the cleanup liability and that Borden did not assume the liability. Subsequently, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision in its entirety (OXY USA, Inc. v. Borden, Inc., 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 694 (January 7, 2007)). Borden’s victory not only prevented the asset-seller from transferring its liability for the cost to clean up the landfill at issue in the case, but prevented the asset-seller from alleging that Borden was responsible for its cleanup obligations at any other site in the United States where any of the more than half a dozen facilities that were the subject of the sale may have sent waste for disposal.
Bowman v. Charleston Area Medical Center
Ms. Rice represented a hospital in a class action filed by four uninsured patients who alleged that a hospital's charging of uninsured patients at full charges, while charging Medicare, Medicaid, and insured patients at less than full charges, was unlawful.
Progressive Minerals, Inc. v. Muhammad Haroon Rashid, et al., Civ. Action No. 5:07 CV 108, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90437 (N.D. WV 2009)
The Court found in the favor of the firm's client, Progressive Minerals, Inc., in a tort action alleging that the defendants defrauded the client in a mineral transaction in West Virginia.
Obtained a $1 Million-Plus Settlement for Our Client
We obtained a settlement in excess of $1 million for our client in a large, complex action against a public owner for concurrent delay, interference, changed conditions, unenforceable liquidated damages and breach of contract in relation to the construction of a waste water treatment facility. The case involved significant understanding of the project’s technical components, exchange of documents, multiple experts and culminated in a day-long mediation.
Successfully Defended a Physician’s Practice from a Former Physician Seeking Termination Benefits
We represented a physician’s practice at trial in a matter involving a physician who had been denied termination benefits that had been provided to other shareholders in the practice. While the physician was a shareholder, their contract did not include a provision for termination benefits. The physician filed suit, and a jury found in favor of our client. The physician appealed the decision, and the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals affirmed the jury verdict, resulting in substantial financial savings for our client.
Successfully Enforced a Multi-Million Dollar International Arbitral Award
Mr. Bilaniuk successfully enforced an international arbitral award for a Fortune 500 government contractor in U.S. court against a European government after multiple years of litigation, including a stay of enforcement and briefing on enforcement of an annulled international arbitral award, after the underlying award had been set aside in a European court. He coordinated with counsel in the defendant’s country in the successful appeal to the country’s supreme court to have the arbitral award reinstated. In the end, after defendant’s appeal, the client’s award totaled roughly $60 million.
Won Favorable Monetary Settlement in Ad Hoc International Arbitration
Mr. Bilaniuk represented a U.S. defense company in an ad hoc arbitration against a Middle Eastern government for breach of contract, employing a strategy that resulted in a favorable settlement of the client’s claims.
Foreign Plaintiff v. U.S. Corporation
I lead a team which successfully assisted a foreign plaintiff in obtaining financial information from U.S. entities for use in a foreign proceeding. To do so, our team obtained a federal court order under 28 U.S.C. § 1782 requiring certain U.S. businesses and banks to provide discovery for use in the foreign proceeding.
Stepping to the Plate for “America’s Game”
Baseball is about as “American” as you can get, and USA Baseball has been the national governing body for amateur baseball since 1978, including representing the United States as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and internationally as a member of the World Baseball Softball Confederation.
“Our first interaction with Dinsmore was in the area of IP and trademark protection, but as our organization and needs have changed, our counsel has not,” said Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO of USA Baseball.
“That’s due to the fact Dinsmore is a full service team that provides for all of our legal needs, from contract work to real estate guidance to sponsor relations. This allows USA Baseball to be connected across all of our business units with a common and knowledgeable firm that understands who we are, in all facets of our operations,” he added.
Dinsmore serves as USA Baseball’s outside general counsel and handles all legal issues for the organization, including intellectual property, data protection, corporate, litigation, employment and finance. Among recent work, Dinsmore provided legal support to USA Baseball’s efforts to develop and implement a performance standard for non-wood bats used in youth baseball. This work began several years ago and, ultimately, reached a variety of legal areas including intellectual property, corporate, licensing, insurance and agreement work. The performance standard was announced on August 7, 2015, and on January 1, 2018, USA Baseball’s National Member Organizations will require non-wood youth bats meet the performance standard, which will be indicated by the USA Baseball trademark on bats that have passed performance testing.
“One of our former board members had a saying, ‘You do business with your friends.’ And while perhaps not always literal or possible in business, in this case it is,” Seiler said. “Our decision to have Dinsmore represent USA Baseball is based on the relationship we have, as well as for the quality counsel provided on a daily basis.”
As the national governing body of amateur baseball, USA Baseball engages with nearly every major national amateur baseball organization in America, which equates to millions of amateur players in ballparks and playgrounds across the country. The organization also promotes and develops the game on a grassroots level nationally and internationally. Dinsmore attorneys have assisted the organization with finance and real estate work related to further development of USA Baseball’s National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.
“The great thing about our relationship with Dinsmore is that we know our best interests are always being looked out for. We never feel like we are just a client. For that matter, I don’t think we even use that word (client) when referencing our partnership,” Seiler said. “Dinsmore is an impactful brand in the legal world, yet it would be hard to argue that we have a more personal relationship with anyone we do business with.”
Outside General Counsel to a Growing Brand
When Kenny McNutt, Brady Duncan and Jeff Hunt had a dream to open their own craft brewery, they sought legal guidance from Dinsmore. By the time Cincinnati’s MadTree Brewing opened in 2013, our attorneys had already played a significant role in its development – from helping to raise the original capital to structuring and executing loan financing.
“Dinsmore gives peace of mind and guides us through murky waters,” said McNutt. “They’re reputable, and I always know I get the best answer for the information available at the time.”
Today, Dinsmore serves as MadTree’s outside general counsel, advising on contracts, real estate, trademark, employment matters, securities and other legal needs as they arise.
“They have every facet we need, and they’re super easy to work with,” added McNutt. “I recommend them whenever anyone asks. They’re trustworthy, really, really good and well worth the peace of mind.”
MadTree was the first modern craft brewery to can its beer in Ohio, and, within four short years, the brewery had grown so significantly they opened an $18 million facility to accommodate larger crowds and increased demand for production. Dinsmore attorneys were with them every step of the way.
Richard Loreto and Larry Buffa v. The Procter & Gamble Company
Serving as co-counsel in attempted consolidated actions alleging false advertising rules under the consumer protection laws of various states involving Vicks NyQuil. The matter is currently on appeal before the Sixth Circuit.
A Long History as Trusted Counsel
As one of the world’s largest and most trusted companies, Procter & Gamble has no shortage of legal needs. Whether seeking counsel on corporate strategy, navigating real estate transactions or protecting their shareholders’ assets, P&G relies on its legal counsel to keep its business running efficiently. That’s why, for nearly 100 years, the consumer products giant has turned to Dinsmore.
“Dinsmore knows our business and understands our culture,” said Debbie Majoras, Chief Legal Officer for P&G. “They remain a trusted ally for us because they are committed to our goals, our company’s success and meeting our legal needs. They bring tremendous value and we enjoy working with them.”
Dinsmore works closely with P&G’s in-house lawyers to provide an array of services, from advising on all manners of contracts and agreements to corporate and securities counseling to handling real estate matters throughout the country. Dinsmore has also represented P&G in a variety of litigation matters over many years, including handling sophisticated product liability, class action, intellectual property and other complex commercial matters.
“Dinsmore is efficient and responsive, and we can count on great partnership and top quality work when we come to them,” said Majoras. “We truly value the special relationship we have built with them."
Dinsmore Meets All Legal Needs for Significant Craft Brewer’s Business
Since 2012, Rivertown has relied exclusively on Dinsmore’s counsel to ensure their craft beer taps flow for years to come. Running a growing brewing company means constantly dealing with new questions about whether a beer name is available to disputes over what name a beer company may use in commerce. Dinsmore provides all legal counsel supporting Rivertown Brewing Company’s manufacture, distribution, and in-house sales, including distribution contract negotiations, manufacturing equipment contracts, local political lobbying, review of services contracts, employment advice, trademark and intellectual property work, litigation concerning distribution contracts, intellectual property litigation, and general corporate matters.
Obtained Writ of Prohibition from the West Virginia Supreme Court dismissing all claims
Obtained Writ of Prohibition from the West Virginia Supreme Court that caused the dismissal of a potential class action
Dismissal of ERISA Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims
We represented an employer accused of failing to properly process an employee’s benefits enrollment form, which resulted in the employee’s spouse not receiving life insurance coverage. The employee alleged that our client negligently failed to procure the insurance coverage and breached its fiduciary duties under ERISA by failing to procure the coverage. We successfully argued that the employee’s state law claims were preempted by ERISA and that she had failed to allege a cognizable breach of fiduciary duty claim under ERISA, which resulted in dismissal of all claims.
Dismissal of Malpractice Claims Against an Attorney
We represented an attorney accused of intentionally inadequately defending his client, the plaintiff, due to the attorney’s relationship with the opposing counsel and because of the plaintiff’s race. We successfully obtained dismissal of all claims, with the court finding that the plaintiff’s complaint was frivolous and failed to state a claim.
Obtained Dismissal of a West Virginia Patient Safety Act Claim
A former hospital administrator’s claim of retaliation in violation of the West Virginia Patient Safety Act was dismissed because we proved that the former employee was not subject to the Act’s protection because she was an administrator.
Obtained Order Enforcing an Arbitration Award
We successfully defeated a plaintiff’s challenge to an arbitration award in our client’s favor.
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