Betts Patterson Mines

Commercial Litigation

Commercial litigation, from routine to the most complex, is a cornerstone of our practice.  Our lawyers handle the full spectrum of commercial litigation and represent a wide variety of individuals and businesses in the myriad of disputes that arise in today’s business world.

Betts Patterson Mines’ litigators are routinely involved in contract, antitrust, RICO, securities fraud, directors and officer liability, mergers and acquisitions, tax and real estate disputes.

Commercial litigation often necessitates calling upon specialized training and experience. Our commercial litigators work closely with other attorneys in the tax, bankruptcy, real estate, banking, business, insurance and international practice areas to achieve the best results for our clients.

Representative Cases

  • Defended a debt adjustment service in a class action lawsuit.   Plaintiff, on behalf of a putative class, sued our clients, who engage in debt adjusting services for debtors, on the basis that they allegedly violated Washington’s Debt Adjusting Act, RCW 18.28.  We have successfully moved the case to AAA arbitration by enforcing the arbitration provision in the parties’ contract and are prepared to argue, based on the recent United States Supreme Court’s decisions in Stolt-Neilson S.A. v. Animal Feeds Int’l Corp., 130 S. Ct. 1758 (2010) and AT & T Mobile LLC v. Concepcion, 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011), that the subject arbitration clause does not permit class action arbitration. 
  • Represented a corporation in a suit to recover losses it suffered due to theft and mismanagement by the manager of its retail stores and to remove a member of its board of directors who had covered up the scheme.  Following a jury trial in Alaska Superior Court, Cape Fox recovered a judgment for compensatory and punitive damages against the former manager and the director.  The jury also barred the director from re-election to the Cape Fox board pursuant to Alaska Stat. § 10.06.463.  Martinez v. Cape Fox Corporation, 113 P.3d 1226 (Alaska 2005).
  • Defended Cape Fox Corporation against shareholder suits challenging the results of its 1997 annual board of directors election on the basis that the proxy rules set forth in the Alaska Administrative Code were not validly adopted and applied by the corporation, its independent counsel, and the inspector of elections.  In each case, the Alaska Superior Court granted Cape Fox Corporation’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the shareholders’ challenges.  The Alaska Supreme Court affirmed.  Undersigned Shareholders of the Cape Fox Corporation v. Cape Fox Corporation, No. 0990 (Alaska Sup. Ct. Aug. 30, 2000).
  • Represented Cooper industries in a dispute involving a $6 million contract for the sale of massive, highly complex diesel generator sets that were specially designed to power an Air Force radar station on a remote Aleutian island.  Wright Schuchart initially sued Cooper Industries for $2.2 million for delaying the project.  Ultimately, Cooper Industries recovered $2.4 million on its counterclaim.  Wright Schuchart, Inc. v. Cooper Industries, Inc., Nos. 93-35778, 93-35946 and 93-36074, 1994 WL 621889 (9th Cir. Apr. 21, 1995) (notation of unreported decision at 40 F.3d 1247).
  • Defended Chrysler against Bickmore Dodge’s claim that a one-percent charge Chrysler includes in vehicle prices to fund regional advertising violated an Oregon law prohibiting manufacturers from “coercing a dealer to participate monetarily in an advertising campaign.”  The suit imperiled a program that annually generates hundreds of millions of dollars of critical advertising revenues nationwide.  We removed the case to federal court and demanded a jury trial.  The dealer settled for $45,000.  BBC Dodge, Inc. v. Chrysler Corporation, No. 36799-4-I, 1996 WL 146723 (Wash. App. Div. I Apr. 1, 1996).
  • Defended Chrysler in a misrepresentation suit involving a stock sale which was complicated by Chrysler’s divestiture of Chrysler Realty to qualify for government loan guarantees.  Overlake claimed lost profits in excess of $10 million. Although Overlake’s lowest settlement demand was $3 million, Overlake recovered only $47,000 following a three-week trial and the ensuing appeal.  Division I of the Washington State Court of Appeals rejected Overlake’s appeal.  Overlake Chrysler Plymouth, Inc. v. Chrysler Corporation, Nos. 25917-2-I and 26122-3-I (Wash. App. Div. I Aug. 26, 1991).
  • Defended Farmers against Sherman Act conspiracy claims brought by defecting insurance agents Farmers had previously enjoined by enforcing non-competition agreements.  The district court dismissed all of the agents’ claims against Farmers well in advance of trial, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal.  Hoppenbrouwer v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, No. 83-3752 (9th Cir. Feb. 17, 1984) (notation of unreported decision at 730 F.3d 766).