A Marathon County Wisconsin jury recently awarded $50 million dollars in damages to a Wausau-based consumer finance company represented by the attorneys of Gass Weber Mullins. The claims arose after the defendant, a large regional accounting firm, failed to disclose a series of accounting errors for over a year related to the accounting for the client’s loan-loss reserves and then the accounting firm improperly withdrew from the accounting engagement altogether. The delay in disclosure and improper withdrawal left the client without audited financial statements it needed to access financing, the life blood of the client’s business, at the worst possible time – shortly before the fall of 2008 when banking giant Lehman Brothers failed. Without access to financing, the client was unable to fully access its $250 million line of credit or obtain other financing to support its business. As a result, after six consecutive years of multi-million dollar profits, the client suffered several devastating years of multi-million dollar losses.
The contentious and hard fought trial, argued by attorneys Ralph Weber, Amelia McCarthy and Paul Heaton of Heaton Trial Law LLC, lasted four weeks and demanded the attorneys make complex accounting issues accessible to individuals without any background in the field of consumer finance. The Gass Weber Mullins trial team augmented their legal expertise and wealth of trial experience with the use of state of the art evidence presentation software. The combination of talent and technology gave the jury unparalleled access to a tremendous volume of evidence, and allowed them the ability to process the labyrinthine complexities of the case in a very short timeframe. Following the close of arguments and two days of careful deliberations, the jury returned to the courtroom and awarded the plaintiff a $50 million dollar verdict. The verdict is one of the largest in Wisconsin history and comes on the heels of several other high profile trials won by the trial attorneys of Gass Weber Mullins.
Post trial, the trial judge issued a 16-page single-spaced written decision unequivocally upholding the jury’s verdict and rejecting all of the defendant’s post-verdict motions.