Rudman Winchell Attorney Brent Singer Successfully Presents Case to Maine Supreme Court–$1,500,000.00 Judgment Vacated
Rudman Winchell attorney Brent Singer has successfully argued a case in front of the Maine Law Court.
The case, VOISINE v. BERUBE, publically reported as Decision 2011 ME 137, was brought as a shareholder derivative action by Gary Voisine, on behalf of Valley Firewood and Tree Farm, Inc. (“Valley”), against Robert Berube. Mr. Voisine alleged that Mr. Berube committed various wrongs against Valley during Valley’s last season of operations in 2000-01 selling prepackaged firewood to grocery stores.
Following a bench trial, the Superior Court, Aroostook County, entered a judgment against Mr. Berube in the amount of $1,500,000.00 plus interest.
Rudman Winchell appealed on behalf of Mr. Berube. After briefing and oral argument presented by Attorney Singer on November 9, 2011, Maine’s highest court issued its 17-page decision on December 29, 2011.
The Law Court chronicled the rules and underlying policies of shareholder derivative litigation, as well as the facts surrounding the termination and liquidation of Valley’s business.
The Law Court unanimously determined, contrary to the ruling of the Superior Court, that Mr. Voisine lacked standing—i.e., lacked the legal capacity under the law—to bring a shareholder derivative action on behalf of Valley, on account of Mr. Voisine’s active participation back in 2001 in the very same corporate transactions that he sought to challenge later on in the derivative suit.
The Law Court vacated the entire judgment against Mr. Berube and ordered that the Superior Court dismiss the case against him.
Attorney Singer is a senior attorney at Rudman Winchell. He has extensive experience in appellate advocacy in Maine and in federal courts, including a successful petition and petitioner’s brief in the United States Supreme Court in BRAGDON v. ABBOTT, 524 U.S. 624 (1998), the first American’s with Disabilities Act case heard by that Court, and in CITY OF BANGOR v. PENOBSCOT COUNTY, where he successfully appealed on behalf of Penobscot County in a case involving a dispute over county tax liability and a regional dispatch center.