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We’re trial lawyers. Our core competency – above everything else – is trying cases to juries. And we specialize in beating giants.

BUsiNESS LITIGATION

When your business gets in a dispute, you need exceptional representation.  Profits, jobs, and your business reputation are on the line and you need lawyers who can take a complex set of facts and synthesize it into a compelling and persuasive story for the judge and jury.  That’s Madia Law.

Madia Law Takes a Different Approach to Business Disputes.

Most large firms that handle business disputes share the same, tired formula.  They’ll request hundreds of thousands of documents from the other side and review them.  They’ll ask you to produce hundreds of thousands of documents to the other side (after they review them).  They’ll bill you $300 – $500 per hour for their review of all the documents.  They’ll argue with the other side about what documents each side has to produce.  They’ll bill you for that too. Then they’ll file a number of motions to avoid trial and respond to the other side’s motions for the same.  They’ll bill you for that too.

Then, finally, after hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills – when you’re finally on the eve of trial – they’ll tell you to settle.

If that’s what you want, we’re not the team for you.  We’ve got a totally different approach.

  •  First, we’ll engage in substantive settlement negotiations with the other side right off the bat (before you’ve invested a significant amount in legal fees).  We want to make sure we’ve got the other side’s best numbers on the table before your business invests in litigation.  If the numbers work – great – you’ve got a deal and saved legal fees.  If they don’t – that’s good too – at least you know what you’re fighting over.
  • Second – we’re a trial firm.  We focus on trial from Day 1.  That means that we’re starting with our closing argument and thinking about what we want our last words to the jury to be.  That will drive our entire case strategy – from what documents we request to what witnesses we depose to what motions we make.  Even if you want to settle the case, our belief is that the other side will not settle for the best terms to your company unless its convinced that we’re going to win at trial.  We use litigation to help convince them of that fact.
  •  Third, we focus on the discovery and documents that actually matter.  We’ll use Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) to control costs of document review, so you’re not paying hundreds of dollars an hour for someone to review thousands of pages of documents that don’t matter.  We don’t mark up LPO costs when we bill you – you pay what we pay (which is a fraction of normal document review costs).
  • Fourth, we don’t fight or bicker over silly things.  Many lawyers waste time (and their clients’ money) by engaging in disputes and making motions that have no real, practical effect on the actual outcome of the case.  Because we’ve appeared in front of so many judges and juries, we know what matters and what doesn’t.  We won’t waste your money on meaningless fights.
  • Fifth, we’re trial lawyers.  That means that we’re never going to tell you to settle because we’re afraid of trial.  We’re eager for trial – that’s the best part of our job.  If the other side is willing to do the right thing and give your company acceptable terms on the eve of trial, then great.  If not – then we look forward to proving your case to a jury.
  • Finally, we thrive on flexible fee agreements tied to our success.  Most large firms will insist on hourly billing, so you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees regardless of what kind of result you get.  We’re a different kind of firm.  We’ll work with you to craft a fee agreement that ties success to fees, including contingency fee agreements and blended hourly/contingency agreements, or even flat fee/contingency fee agreements.

Madia Law Gets Business Results

We’ve got a great track record of outstanding results for our clients.  For example:

  • We represented a businessman who sued his partner for breach of fiduciary duty.  Another firm handled the matter for a year until the dissatisfied client switched to us.  Prior to our representation, the best offer from the defendant was $2 million.  We took over the discovery and handled depositions and motions practice.  Two months before trial, the defendant settled for approximately $4.5 million.
  • We tried a breach of fiduciary duty case to a jury on behalf of a minority shareholder in a limited liability company.  The defendant was represented by one of the top 5 largest firms in Minnesota.  Prior to trial, the largest offer by the defendant was $40,000.  The jury returned a verdict of $1.3 million.
  •  We represented a small business that was sued in a wage and hour class action involving nearly 1,000 plaintiffs represented by one of the largest and best employment firms in the nation.  The lowest offer to settle by plaintiffs before trial was $2 million.  We tried the case, and the jury dismissed most charges and returned a verdict of just $13,000.
  • We represented a small business that sued the downtown Minneapolis building it leased space from because faulty plumbing caused damage during a rain storm.  A large insurance company defense firm represented the defendant.  Though they offered only $50,000 before trial, the jury returned a verdict of $298,000.
  • A small company brought us in to defend it in a trademark infringement  case just two months before trial on case that had been litigated for 2 years.  Two weeks before trial, the plaintiffs demanded $1 million as their last, best offer as they were “certain” to prevail at trial.  We tried the case and the jury returned a complete defense verdict so our clients paid nothing.  In fact, we’re now pursuing attorney fees against the plaintiffs.

THE MADIA LAW WAY

We have a process that works in getting exceptional results for our clients. 

We are trial lawyers who prepare every case for trial from Day 1. Investigation and legal research are the first things we do, and we spend a lot of time on them. Because we haven’t filed the case yet, we have complete control – the defendant has no say and we want to use this time wisely.  We interview witnesses that can help us prove the case.  We’ll ask you for all relevant documents in your possession and review those carefully as well.  We also will spend some time conducting legal research about unique issues in the case.  We pull the jury instructions that the judge will ultimately charge the jury with after closing arguments at trial.

Our next step is typically to send a demand letter to the defendant. In the letter, we thoroughly lay out: the facts surrounding the defendant’s misconduct; the applicable law (including statutory and case citations) that make clear that the defendant broke the law; an analysis of your damages and the defendant’s monetary exposure; a demand for a monetary amount to settle the claim; and an instruction to preserve all relevant evidence, including electronic evidence. The point of this letter is to give the defendant a chance to do the right thing and pay a fair amount before litigation, and to give the defendant an opportunity to present any defenses or evidence it wants us to consider before moving forward.  Sometimes we skip the demand letter if there are strategic reasons to move straight to filing, but we typically give defendants a chance to do the right thing.

If early negotiations fail, great – we file a Complaint and serve the defendant with it. A Complaint is a legal document that states the facts of what happened and alleges how the defendant broke the law. It formally starts the lawsuit.  Many lawyers draft complaints in a general and relatively vague way, just to get it done and filed – because that’s all that’s really required.  We take a different view. We view the Complaint as our first chance to tell your story to the judge, and we take it seriously. So we draft detailed complaints and include legal citations to statutory and judicial authority on unique points.  Sometimes we’ll include a number of exhibits, diagrams, or other demonstrative aids to help the Court understand our claims.  A secondary benefit of this approach is that defense lawyers reading the Complaint can become educated on the problems of their case and the state of the law – sometimes this leads them to reach out to us shortly after service of the Complaint to re-initiate settlement negotiations.  Of course, by that time, the price for settlement has gone up.

Some lawyers view written discovery as a necessary evil – something to get done and out of the way before depositions.  Not us.  Written discovery is a gift and an opportunity.  We spend a great deal of time crafting requests for documents and interrogatories (questions for the defendant to answer in writing) that are specific, detailed, and tailored to get what we need to prove our case.  Many lawyers – even great ones – think written discovery is a waste of time because defense lawyers typically answer them on behalf of their clients and can try to stonewall with legalese and objections.  We view this as a wonderful opportunity.  In our experience, most defense lawyers can’t help themselves when answering discovery: they over-state their defenses and make assertions that their clients will not be able to support in testimony. So we get to commit the defendant to defenses that they can’t back up, leading to contradictions, confusion, and chaos in their depositions later on.  We also use Requests for Admission – which many lawyers don’t.  The Federal Rules and Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure allow us to ask defendants to “admit” certain facts.  We send them RFAs that are very difficult for them to deny.  Of course, they do it anyway, but that sets them up later for cost and fee-shifting, which the Rules mandate for defendants that deny RFAs that are later proven true.  And usually, we can get the defendants’ own witnesses to admit facts that their defense lawyers denied in RFA.  That’s a great situation that leads to more chaos and confusion on the defense side.

One last point on written discovery – we send multiple waves of it throughout discovery.  We typically send 3 or 4 sets of written discovery requests to defendants throughout discovery.  This compounds the problems for them, because the defense lawyers continue to overstate their defenses, but now run into contradictions from not just the defendant witnesses’ deposition testimony, but also their own previous discovery responses.  This makes for a great record that we can present to the judge at dispositive motions, and use for impeachment at trial.

This is our chance to question relevant witnesses, on the record with a court reporter (we typically videotape important depositions as well). We get to confront the defense witnesses with all of the evidence we’ve developed through written discovery and document production. By this time, the defendant put its witnesses in an impossible position through its written defenses, which are often untrue and indefensible.  So the witness has to either lie to support the defense, or admit it’s not true.  That’s a dilemma that works for our clients either way, no matter which option the witness takes.  We use depositions to expose contradictions, create a record for dispositive motions, lock witnesses into their stories so that we can impeach them later at trial, and sometimes, to show defense lawyers how hopeless their case is.  We often calls from defense counsel shortly after depositions of their clients, seeking to re-start settlement negotiations.

The defendant will usually make a motion for summary judgment after discovery, asking the Court to throw out the case without having a jury trial. Because we’ve hit discovery so hard – both through written discovery and depositions – this is a tough motion for defense counsel to write in our cases.  We draft our response for the Court and now get to bring everything together: the admissions, contradictions, nonsense, and obvious fact disputes that we’ve uncovered through discovery.  We tell a compelling story that wraps everything together for the Court and makes clear that the defense motion has to be denied, and the defendant needs to face a jury for its conduct.

Sometimes, we’ll even make an affirmative motion for summary judgment, asking the Court to grant judgment in favor of our client without a trial. These motions are generally rare for plaintiffs to make, because the defendant can usually point to some fact dispute on its intent or some other factor that necessitates a trial. But we make affirmative summary judgment motions significantly more than is typical for plaintiffs, and that’s because the work we put in during discovery helps build a fantastic record to do so.

After the Court denies the defense motion for summary judgment, the defendant has only 2 options: 1) do the right thing and pay you a fair amount to our client to settle your claim (usually much, much more at this point than the defendant could have paid at the beginning of the case to settle); or 2) face a jury for its conduct and risk an enormous verdict. This is the dilemma that we have been creating and forcing the defendant into for the entire case. We’ll engage in settlement negotiations at this point from a position of extreme strength, mainly because most defendants are (rightly) terrified of facing a jury to defend their conduct.

This is, candidly, our favorite part of the case – why we went to law school: to hold the powerful accountable before juries.  We prepare heavily for trial, including: detailed witness preparation, focus groups, and mock trials.  At this point, the potential outcomes and consequences for the defendant are much more severe than if it simply did the right thing at the beginning of the case and paid a fair amount to compensate our client for its misconduct.  As we advocate to the jury for our client, we’re also mindful of protecting the record so that defendants will be unsuccessful in attacking the verdict in post-trial motions or appeal.

What Our Clients Say