Austin Law Firm, Cain & Skarnulis, Wins Defense Verdict in Multimillion Dollar Partnership Dispute

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Firm wins defense verdict and attorney’s fees after week-long trial in “business divorce” case seeking more than $50 million.

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Cain & Skarnulis PLLC recently won a complete defense verdict for its clients, Zach Potts and his entity, Northwoods Energy, LLC of San Marcos. The jury returned a verdict of 11-1 in favor of no liability, finding more than $500,000 in attorney’s fees in favor of C&S’s client and two co-defendants.

C&S partner Steve Skarnulis tried the case, joined on the defense team by Joe Webber of Austin, and Charles Tabet of San Antonio. Webber and Tabet represented the co-defendants in the case.

The case, Republic Capital Group, LLC et al v. Northwoods Energy, LLC et al. was tried in Judge Lora Livingston’s court. The trial lasted just over a week. The jury deliberated only four hours before returning the defense verdict on March 6, 2017.

According to court documents, plaintiffs Republic Capital and its principal Patrick McDavid alleged that the defendants fraudulently induced him into an agreement severing his ownership in two saltwater disposal well companies he started with the defendants. In exchange, McDavid received assets including royalty interests and deeds to real property. McDavid contended that the defendants’ subsequent business interests were not disclosed to him, and that he would have been entitled to a share of future profits. Although plaintiffs at one time alleged damages of more than $100 million, at trial the damage model rejected by the jury was approximately $56 million.

C&S pushed the case through complex discovery and motion practice, successfully obtaining several important pretrial verdicts. The firm rejected several settlement demands, choosing to take the case directly to jury trial. Ultimately, the jury found there was no fraudulent inducement, no breach of contract, and found fees on behalf of all defendants for more than $500,000.

This case is formally listed as case No. D-1-GN-15-002254; Republic Capital Group, LLC and Patrick McDavid vs. Four Fountains LLC, et al.; In the 201st Judicial District Court of Travis County. Trial was conducted before the Honorable Lora Livingston.

ABOUT CAIN & SKARNULIS PLLC

Since 2007, C&S has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a tailored litigation approach to meet clients’ individual needs. The firm combines the high‑end legal service of a large firm with the flexibility and value afforded by a smaller boutique, to achieve outstanding client results.

The firm is a growing business law boutique with expertise in litigation and arbitration. C&S boasts experienced trial lawyers and advisers with experience in a broad range of areas, including contractual and business disputes, securities, antitrust, labor and employment law, and a litany of other practice areas. The firm has represented clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to individuals, across many industries including oil and gas, insurance/reinsurance, technology, software, construction, banking and finance, hospitality, real estate, music, and fashion.

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Steve Skarnulis
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