Co-lead counsel representing one of the world’s largest debt-collection companies, Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA), in defending against claims alleging violations of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and alleged damages claims of $1,000,000. The case proceeded to a jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. After deliberating less than a half day, the jury found in favor of our client on all claims.
Lead counsel representing professional golfer Jesper Parnevik and two well-known real-estate developers in RICO and fraud litigation against Michael Burgess, Erwin Lasshofer, and others. Mr. Burgess is currently serving a 15-year sentence in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. After Mr. Burgess began serving his sentence, our clients moved for an ex parte temporary restraining order freezing Mr. Lasshofer’s international assets and requiring him to repatriate allegedly defrauded proceeds from Austria to the United States. The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado granted the motion for a temporary restraining order, and later, granted our clients’ motion for a preliminary injunction in a published opinion. Niemi v. Burgess, 874 F. Supp. 2d 1048 (D. Colo. 2012). When it was discovered that one of Mr. Lasshofer’s entities held millions in an account at Credit Suisse in Switzerland, our clients added Credit Suisse to the lawsuit as a nominal defendant and moved for a second preliminary injunction that would freeze those funds. Credit Suisse opposed the motion, but the District Court nonetheless granted our motion, compelled Credit Suisse to freeze the millions of dollars in the Swiss bank account. In 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed our clients' judgement in the amount of $185,077,476.
Lead counsel representing three-time Tour de France winner, Greg LeMond, a former high-ranking banker at JP Morgan Chase, a Wisconsin corporation, and two other individuals in a minority-shareholder lawsuit against Timothy Blixseth, the then-billionaire majority owner of the elite Yellowstone Club located near Big Sky, Montana, and certain related entities. After receiving a cash and land buy-out offer of less than $12 million collectively, our clients alleged fraudulent practices relating to the management of Yellowstone Club assets. In October 2007, our clients reached a $38 million settlement which required two settlement payments to be made before February 2008. When the defendants did not make the second settlement payment, the suit was renewed and settled for $39.5 million. In this second settlement, our clients also obtained confessions of judgment, a mortgage on Blixseth’s former home, and protection against having their Yellowstone Club memberships unfavorably affected. In 2008, Yellowstone Development, LLC and Yellowstone Mountain Club, LLC filed for bankruptcy. Several interested parties in this bankruptcy litigation have relied upon and continue to repeatedly cite our work product in pursuit of claims against the debtors and others.
Lead counsel representing trustees of spendthrift trust, including former FBI Director Louis Freeh, against allegations that trustees committed certain actions disqualifying spendthrift nature of the trust. Obtained summary judgment against all such allegations.
Lead counsel representing law firm against allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, breach of contract, and other claims involving former partner that left law firm.
Lead counsel representing top defense counsel against allegations of attorney malpractice. The District Court granted our motions to dismiss and for sanctions against the plaintiff/former client.
Lead counsel representing convicted fraudster Tom Petters’ criminal defense lawyers in claims asserted by Mr. Petters relating to their representation of him in his criminal litigation. The U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, rejected all of Mr. Petters’ arguments.
Lead counsel representing prominent tax and criminal-defense counsel in claims asserted by his former client. The U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, rejected all of the former client’s arguments.
Lead counsel representing a top criminal-defense attorney in an indemnification dispute relating to that attorney’s defense of client. Obtained summary judgment on liability and damages in favor of the attorney. Mauzy v. Edward Kraemer & Sons, Inc., Civ. No. 02-879 AJB, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5098 (Mar. 4, 2004).
Lead counsel representing defendants UnitedHealth Group, Inc. and PacifiCare, Inc. in an antitrust lawsuit involving alleged price-fixing and fraud related to prescription drug reimbursement under the federal Medicare Part D program. Plaintiff Omnicare sought damages exceeding $1 billion and permanent injunctive relief. After Mr. Madel argued the summary judgment motion in August 2008, the U.S. District Court granted summary judgment to defendants on all claims in January 2009. Published decision: Omnicare, Inc. v. UnitedHealth Group, Inc., 594 F. Supp. 2d 945 (N.D. Ill. 2009). Summary judgment was subsequently affirmed. Omnicare, Inc. v. UnitedHealth Group, Inc., 629 F.3d 697 (7th Cir. 2011).
Lead counsel representing multi-million-dollar privately held corporation against allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, duty of loyalty, and theft of trade secrets. Potential litigation was averted through confidential settlement.
Lead counsel representing Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. in class-action lawsuit by former employees alleging, among other things, violations relating to their immigration status and the Minnesota Wages Act. Settled the lawsuit for $0.
EchoStar v. DirectTV, Circuit City, Best Buy Co., Inc., et. al. Lead counsel representing defendant multi-national consumer-electronics corporation in antitrust litigation. Obtained dismissal of case with prejudice in favor of client.
Lead counsel representing Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA) in defending against class-action counterclaims which sought to invalidate arbitration awards in which the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) acted as the arbitration organization. After the Minnesota Attorney General sued the NAF in 2009, alleging that the NAF was secretly owned by a hedge fund that held a large stake in the debt-collection industry, the NAF settled and numerous consumers filed class actions against the NAF which were consolidated as part of multi-district litigation proceeding (MDL). PRA opted out of the MDL. NAF and other defendants in the MDL ultimately settled by dismissing pending NAF arbitrations and paying over $3 million in cash. The NAF’s MDL settlement agreement confirms that the value of the consumer arbitration claims dismissed following the 2009 settlement with the Minnesota Attorney General is at least $1,090,000,000. In November 2010, PRA obtained a dismissal of Defendant/Counterclaimant Freeman’s counterclaims with prejudice on the pleadings, as well as an order confirming the arbitration award. After extensive briefing and oral argument, the North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s ruling in a published decision. Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC v. Freeman, 717 S.E.2d 43 (N.C. Ct. App. 2011).
Lead counsel representing Digital River, Inc. and Digital River Marketing Solutions, Inc. in internal investigation and subsequent civil investigation relating to alleged conspiracy to commit computer fraud and computer hacking. Within 48 hours of filing suit in May 2010, obtained ex parte federal order to seal the litigation and a separate temporary restraining order prohibiting defendant from, among other things, attempting to sell the alleged stolen data and from destroying all relevant documents. The District Court subsequently entered a permanent injunction against the defendant.
Financial corporation. Lead counsel representing a Fortune 500 financial corporation regarding investigation by over 40 states. Mr. Madel reached a settlement with the states for approximately $1.5 million and other equitable relief. After the financial corporation was sold and moved out of Minnesota, other law firms negotiated settlements with the federal government for alleged subsequent violations: the Federal Trade Commission (for $18 million) and the U.S Department of Justice (for $100 million).
Lead counsel representing Minnesota Vikings’ former wide receiver Bernard Berrian against attempted extortion plot. Obtained ex parte temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court returning client’s property and enjoining defendants. The case subsequently settled on confidential terms.
Lead counsel representing Botanic Oil Innovations, Inc. (BOI) in litigation against competitor Rain Nutrition LLC and former member of BOI’s Board of Directors and Medical Advisory Board. After discovering contractual agreement between BOI’s then-board member/medical advisor and Rain, BOI filed a lawsuit alleging, among other claims for relief: aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, copyright infringement, and violation of Minnesota’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act. After months of discovery, BOI agreed to a favorable settlement with the former board member/medical advisor. BOI continued litigation against Rain, ultimately obtaining judgment against Rain and dismissal of Rain’s counterclaims with prejudice. In August 2012, the Court entered judgment in favor of BOI and against Rain in the amount of $4,869,288.
Co-counsel representing defendant Kia Motors America, Inc. with respect to claims grounded in antitrust, the Minnesota Motor Vehicle Sale and Distribution Act, and the Minnesota Unfair Discrimination and Competition Act. In October 2008, U.S. District Court dismissed four of plaintiff’s claims with prejudice. Barnett Chrysler Plymouth Co. v. Kia Motors Am., Inc., Civ. No. 08-828 (ADM/JSM) (Oct. 27, 2008). The case subsequently settled.
United States v. National Automobiles Dealer’s Ass’n. While working as a Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, Mr. Madel served as lead counsel in the federal government’s investigation of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (“N.A.D.A.”). Upon the conclusion of Mr. Madel’s tenure at the Justice Department, U.S. Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Anne Bingaman thanked Mr. Madel for developing the case and his “tremendous contribution to the Division in antitrust enforcement.”
Lead counsel representing the Minnesota State Board of Public Defense in connection with the State of Minnesota’s government shutdown. Coordinated and funded by the Board of Public Defense, Minnesota public defenders represent indigent accused people in each of Minnesota’s 87 counties. The State Board of Public Defense sought emergency relief to require the State of Minnesota to fund the public defenders and the courts in the event of a state-government shutdown. Several Minnesota senators, represented by a former state senator, claimed that our requested relief would violate the Minnesota State Constitution. Covering the hearing, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune stated that “Madel made the most impassioned arguments, citing three U.S. Supreme Court rulings that mandate continuation of funding for the judiciary: Gideon v. Wainright, requiring effective counsel at public expense for those accused of felonies, Argersinger v. Hamlin, ensuring legal representation of indigents for misdemeanors and In re Gault, extending the same right for juveniles.” On June 28, the District Court granted our emergency petition in full, thus requiring the State of Minnesota to fully fund the public defenders and the courts after the government shutdown (which then occurred on July 1, 2011).
Lead counsel representing Enjoli Rosas and Council on Crime & Justice in pro bono elections case. In 2010, Ms. Rosas pleaded guilty to felony possession of marijuana and was placed on five years of probation. But, like in the cases of thousands of Minnesotans each year charged with first-time and less serious felonies, the district court did not accept her guilty plea with the stipulation that if she successfully completed the terms of her probation she would not be “convicted.” After she successfully concluded her probation, Ms. Rosas called the Ramsey County probation office to ask if she could vote in the upcoming election. The probation office told Ms. Rosas that she could not vote. Mr. Madel represented Ms. Rosas and the Council on Crime & Justice in a petition to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Because Ramsey County admitted their mistake, no dispute remained regarding Rosas’ ability to vote. Consequently, the Supreme Court dismissed the case as moot, but in doing so, the Minnesota Supreme Court noted that “the undisputed facts here show that Rosas’ 2010 guilty plea was not accepted or recorded and that no judgment of guilty on a felony charge has been entered with respect to petitioner Rosas.” The New York Times published an editorial praising the Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision and noted that it provided a positive step to encouraging citizens to vote.
Defended former Minnesota Timberwolves player Isaiah “J.R.” Rider in civil lawsuits relating to incident at Mall of America.
Securities-fraud cases. Lead counsel representing clients against securities-fraud claims brought by, among others, private parties, the Securities & Exchange Commission, and the U.S. Department of Justice. Prosecuted civil claims on behalf of brokers, and defended broker-dealers, in FINRA arbitrations.
Lead counsel representing an independent three-member Special Committee of the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors that was headed by a former Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court. The Special Committee was formed to investigate allegations that the Fiesta Bowl had reimbursed employees for campaign contributions, that a prior investigation had covered-up criminal conduct, and that the Fiesta Bowl had made numerous other improper expenditures. Our five-month investigation included 87 interviews of 52 individuals and the review of 55 gigabytes of electronic data and more than 10,000 additional hard copy documents. Our investigation culminated in a 276-page Final Report with 1,562 footnotes and thousands of additional pages of supporting schedules and spreadsheets. The report is publicly available here. The Final Report was covered by dozens of media outlets and has received widespread praise, including:
- The Arizona Republic’s Editorial Board stated: “The Fiesta Bowl executive committee should never lose sight of what appears to have saved their event’s bacon, at least for now: the unflaggingly candid 276-page report released by the Fiesta Bowl itself, which exposed all those ugly warts.” Other reporting from The Arizona Republic referred to the report as “comprehensive.”
- A leading legal commentator stated: “Any lawyer or other person asked to lead a special investigation centered on wrongdoing of the type that now surrounds the Fiesta Bowl should read RKMC’s report first.”
- Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne called the report “comprehensive.”
- The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Task Force -- a Task Force that was created to review the Fiesta Bowl’s conduct and our Report -- called our investigation “exceedingly thorough” and noted that had the Special Committee not produced such a “thorough and open report” the Task Force “almost certainly would have recommended termination of the BCS Groups’ involvement with the Fiesta Bowl.”
- NCAA President Mark Emmert stated that “The [Fiesta Bowl] special report was obviously extremely detailed and outlined behaviors none of us would be supportive of and I think the board was forthright in putting all that information before the various bodies.”
- Sports Illustrated’s Austin Murphy noted that the Special Committee’s investigation (in contrast to an earlier investigation) was “decidedly not a whitewash.
Led internal investigation of Minnesota Vikings into former punter Chris Kluwe’s allegations that he was released by the Vikings for his public support of same-sex marriage rights. The Vikings investigation generated national news and was praised by both the Vikings and Kluwe. Indeed, the Vikings described the investigation—which included more than 30 interviews, analysis of two independent experts, and review of electronically-stored information along with hard-copy documents—as “exhaustive.” Kluwe also began an online petition that garnered over 80,000 signatures urging the Vikings to publicly release the investigative team’s written report. The Vikings investigation generated national news and was praised by both the Vikings and Kluwe. Indeed, the Vikings described the investigation—which included more than 30 interviews, analysis of two independent experts, and review of electronically-stored information along with hard-copy documents—as “exhaustive.” Kluwe also began an online petition that garnered over 80,000 signatures urging the Vikings to publicly release the investigative team’s written report. And although the investigative team’s report remains confidential, Kluwe’s attorney characterized the RKMC report as “thorough” in the press conference related to the settlement that was covered by multiple media outlets.
Lead counsel representing Best Buy Co., Inc. in internal investigation, criminal referral to federal government, and related civil litigation against supplier. After discovering employee’s acceptance of bribes from supplier relating to alleged $40+ million scheme to defraud, led team that referred matter to U.S. Attorney’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, and U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office. In February 2009, the employee pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering. In July 2009, the United States indicted the primary owner of supplier. In June 2010, a federal jury convicted the primary owner for 24 of 26 alleged federal crimes, including conspiracy to commit mail fraud, money laundering, income-tax evasion, and conspiracy to defraud the United States. In December 2010, the primary owner received a 15-year sentence, the employee received a 7 1/2-year sentence, and Judge Davis ordered all defendants to pay over $32 million in restitution.
Lead counsel representing Fortune 500 agricultural business in internal investigation regarding alleged fraud and other violations regarding marketing, distribution, and labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) throughout the world. Drafted final report and recommendations for audit committee and executives, including recommended personnel changes and communications to customers. No subsequent government investigation or private lawsuits resulted.
Lead counsel representing prominent personal-injury law firm in internal investigation relating to associate attorneys’ alleged conspiracy to defraud law firm. After obtaining sworn affidavits from the associate attorneys describing the alleged fraud, including alleged kickbacks paid to another solo practitioner attorney, Mr. Madel negotiated a confidential settlement with the solo practitioner attorney.
Lead counsel representing drug manufacturer with respect to board member’s alleged theft of trade secrets, breaches of fiduciary duty (including conflicts of interest), and other potential theft. Entered into settlement with board member, and obtained multi-million dollar judgment against defendant.
Minnesota Vikings. Lead counsel representing the Minnesota Vikings in connection with internal investigation and defense of organization relating to the Arctic Blast in 2003, including allegations of sexual misconduct and improper expenditures.
Lead counsel representing construction corporation in internal investigation relating to alleged fraud of supplier. After Mr. Madel and his team, obtained settlements against certain former employees, no litigation was instituted against, and no investigation resulted of, our corporate client.
Led internal investigations of numerous other corporations and entities relating to alleged violations of state and federal crimes, including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, mail-fraud statutes, wire-fraud statutes, illegal campaign contributions, computer fraud, tax crimes, and other crimes.
Mr. Madel served as lead counsel representing a senior vice president of a federally insured bank against an extensive federal indictment that alleged eight crimes against our client, including bank fraud (one count), misapplication of bank funds (five counts), and federal false statements (two counts). The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) jointly investigated the case, and it was prosecuted by two Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota. After the U.S. Government rested their case, Mr. Madel and his team moved the U.S. District Court to dismiss all charges against our client. The U.S. District Court Judge granted this motion in part and dismissed the two federal false-statement charges. However, the Judge stated that the U.S. Government’s evidence with respect to the bank fraud and misapplication of bank funds charges was “strong.” The Judge submitted the remaining six charges to the jury one day later. On April 6, 2012, after four days of deliberation, the jury returned “not guilty” verdicts for each of the remaining charges, resulting in a complete victory for our client. Local media covered the trial each day, and after the verdict, quoted Mr. Madel: “‘It’s been an honor representing an innocent man,’ said Chris Madel, [the bank officer’s] defense attorney. [Mr. Madel’s client] had tears in his eyes as he and his lawyer emerged from the courtroom.”
Lead counsel representing leader of nationally recognized education institution with respect to investigations (internal and governmental) relating to allegations of failing to report certain violations of law. After multiple communications with governmental authorities and others, no charges were filed against client.
Lead counsel representing CEO of healthcare business involving alleged kickbacks provided to medical doctors. After multiple communications with governmental authorities and others, no charges filed against client.
Lead counsel representing in-house attorney at Fortune 500 corporation with respect to grand-jury investigation relating to potential FCPA, export, and other allegations. No charges resulted.
Lead counsel representing Fortune 500 corporation with respect to grand-jury subpoena seeking confidential information regarding customer. Obtained protective order from federal court regarding same.
Lead counsel representing relating to investigation of CEO for alleged illegal importing of pharmaceutical drugs for research purposes. No charges resulted.
Lead counsel representing former executive of multi-million-dollar manufacturing company against felony embezzlement and theft charges. After extensive discussions with prosecutor and subsequent motion practice, we convinced the prosecution to dismiss all charges with prejudice before trial.
Lead counsel representing owner of busing business with respect to alleged fraudulent representations made in connection with awarding of contract. After multiple communications with governmental authorities and others, no charges were filed against client.
Lead counsel representing two-time Medal of Valor recipient and 20-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department in criminal trial alleging felony false imprisonment, arrest without authority, interference with an emergency call, and disorderly conduct. After the court dismissed the felony false imprisonment and arrest without authority charges for lack of probable cause, obtained jury-trial acquittals of the remaining charges in September 2010. The Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune characterized Mr. Madel’s cross examination as “searing.”
Lead counsel representing individual charged with domestic abuse by strangulation. After extensive motion practice, obtained dismissal of all charges with prejudice prior to trial.
Lead counsel representing corporate executive relating to altercation with police detective. After extensive motion practice, obtained dismissal of charge with prejudice prior to trial.
Lead counsel defending Katun Corporation in criminal investigation Led relating to alleged violations of fraud, illegal campaign contributions, computer fraud, tax crimes, escheat statutes, and other crimes. After settling with the United States and paying approximately $11 million, served as lead counsel in settlement reached with former shareholders for $11.65 million. After U.S. District Court held the settlement violated public policy, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and reinstated the settlement. Katun Corp. v. Clarke, 484 F.3d 972 (8th Cir. 2007).
State of Minnesota v. Kirby Puckett. With former partner B. Todd Jones, defended Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett against felony false imprisonment and other criminal charges. Upon his acquittal of all charges after jury trial, Mr. Puckett told the gathered media that he “had the greatest lawyers in the world.”
Lead counsel representing CEO for alleged violation of Mann Act and other federal crimes. After multiple communications with governmental authorities and others, no charges were filed against client.