Sheehan Phinney Attorneys Win $1.2 Million Decision

(September 14, 2016, Boston, MA) – On September 8, 2016, Sheehan Phinney shareholders Charles Waters and Peter Cowan received an award of $1.2 million on behalf of the firm’s client pursuant to a week-long JAMS Arbitration in Boston.  The Arbitrator found that a prominent Boston/New York venture capital firm breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing contained in its separation agreement with Sheehan Phinney’s client, the founder of the firm.  Specifically, the agreement required the firm to make a payment to Sheehan Phinney’s client if it closed on investment monies and called capital for its fourth fund by October 1, 2014.  The firm closed on $50 million in March 2014, but then waited more than six months until after October 1st to make a capital call.  At arbitration, the firm denied the existence of a plan to delay the first capital call, but rather, claimed that independent business issues dictated the timing of the call.  Sheehan Phinney attorneys conducted extensive document discovery, including the review of over 600,000 pages of documents produced by the firm.  They discovered and presented documents at arbitration, demonstrating that the firm secretly planned a “hiatus” from investing to avoid making a capital call by October 1st, all while simultaneously employing “creative” approaches to “appear active” in the marketplace.  In awarding the full amount of the payment, together with interest, attorney’s fees and costs to the client, the Arbitrator specifically rejected each of the firm’s business-related excuses attempting to justify the failure to make a first capital call by October 1st.

Waters has a significant commercial litigation practice, including disputes involving private investment funds including hedge, private equity and venture capital funds, securities fraud cases, shareholder disputes, and cases involving breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, business torts, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and other commercial disputes.  Since 2005, Law and Politics Magazine has named Waters a New England Super Lawyer each year in the area of business litigation.  He has won multiple million dollar trial awards, including two of the largest trial awards in Massachusetts in 2006 and 2013.  His trial successes have garnered attention by both local and national media.  Waters serves as a panelist for the Massachusetts Bar Association and MCLE pertaining to litigation and trial issues, and has published articles on various litigation topics.  Waters is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and is a member of the Boston and Massachusetts Bar Associations.

Cowan divides his practice between commercial litigation (including trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, shareholder disputes and other commercial disputes) and construction litigation, primarily representing design professionals.  Cowan is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell and is recognized by Chambers, Best Lawyers in America and New England Super Lawyers in commercial litigation.  Primarily representing defendants, Cowan has achieved many defendant’s verdicts in high stakes cases.  Cowan  authored the chapter on design professional litigation in MCLE’s A Practical Guide to Construction Law and Litigation published in 2016.  Cowan is admitted to practice in New Hampshire state and federal courts.

About the Firm

Sheehan Phinney is a full service business law firm representing local, national and international clients with innovative approaches and practical solutions. Founded in 1937, Sheehan Phinney has grown to more than 60 attorneys with four offices throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts and is known for professional excellence, practical counsel and commitment to both its clients and the communities it serves. Sheehan Phinney is the exclusive member in New Hampshire of Lex Mundi, the world’s leading association of premier independent law firms.