Case Study

Co-Founder’s Rights Upheld

Fashion Brand Co-Founder Wins Multimillion-Dollar Settlement

Challenge

Together with her older and more sophisticated boyfriend, a woman built a $100 million fashion brand over the course of their 15-year relationship. The couple never married, and when their personal relationship ended, the boyfriend disavowed the woman’s interest in the business, claiming she had merely been an employee. It was an undisputed fact that the boyfriend had always been the sole owner of the company’s stock. While the law was not on the woman’s side, her story was compelling, and there were a number of incidental writings suggesting that the couple had agreed that they would share equally in the fruits of the business.

Strategy

After litigating for ten years, the woman ran out of money, and her former lawyers withdrew. She turned to Trachtenberg Rodes & Friedberg for representation on a full contingent fee basis. We recognized that the claim would have meaningful settlement value only if – and it was a big “if” – we could fend off the summary judgment motion that was sure to come.

Result

As the result of our careful preparation, our client made it through lengthy deposition sessions unscathed and was able to submit a credible, detailed affidavit in opposition to the defendant’s summary judgment motion. The turning point came during oral arguments on the summary judgment motion when the judge stated that while the law might favor the defendant boyfriend, the facts were on our client’s side. Summary judgment was denied. Settlement negotiations ensued, and we obtained a multimillion-dollar recovery for our client.