Squire Patton Boggs Achieves Trial Victory After Five-Day Bench Trial Concerning Multimillion-Dollar Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims

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Squire Patton Boggs’ client, Jerry Gunderson of Fruita, Colo., the Personal Representative of the Gunderson Estate in Mesa County, Colorado, achieved a complete victory following a five-day bench trial in front of Senior District Court Judge W. Terry Ruckriegle in Mesa County, Colorado District Court. The case concerned a long-running, multimillion dollar dispute between the Estate and a disgruntled beneficiary.

On behalf of the Estate, the Personal Representative retained Squire Patton Boggs in 2019 to turn the tide in the complex, long-running litigation that concerned the Estate’s administration.

The disgruntled beneficiary, Susan Nichols of Collbran, Colo., sought millions of dollars in damages, including revenues from the Estate’s mineral rights, plus her attorneys’ fees, costs, and interest going back to 2006. She claimed gross misconduct under a range of legal theories, including breach of fiduciary duty, breach of the duty of loyalty, and excess compensation.

Following extensive pre-trial motions practice, the matter went to a five-day bench trial in August 2022. Numerous experts testified about all aspects of the administration of the Estate and thoroughly supported Gunderson’s management and representation.

In fact, the court found that Gunderson, who was appointed the Estate’s Personal Representative in 2005, took an estate that needed to be liquidated and – most importantly – created millions of dollars for each beneficiary.

Supported by witness testimony and extensive documentation, the trial court agreed with Gunderson issuing a 69-page ruling completely vindicating Gunderson’s administration of the Estate. The trial court rejected each one of the Nichol’s claims and rendered a complete verdict in defense of Gunderson.

The Squire Patton Boggs team was led by partner Brent Owen with support from associate Sam Ballingrud and senior paralegal Sarah Conley.

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Angelo Kakolyris +1 973 848 5621