December 14, 2023

Michael K. Mullen and Catherine P. O'Hern Prevail During Trial; Claims in Excess of $1.3 Million Dismissed

At a recent trial, Schenck Price Partner Michael K. Mullen and Associate Catherine P. O’Hern successfully obtained a dismissal of all counterclaims against their client and its Trustees in excess of $1.3 million.

Schenck Price’s client, a charitable religious organization (plaintiff), shared ownership of a commercial building with its co-tenant, a separate charitable organization (defendant). After the defendant had restricted the plaintiff’s fair use of the property, Michael and Catherine filed suit on behalf of the client in the Chancery Division seeking injunctive relief and to commence a partition action. In response, the defendant filed a counterclaim for $60,000 in building renovation costs completed years before plaintiff’s existence or ownership of the property and a third-party complaint against the plaintiff’s Trustees, individually, alleging breaches of fiduciary duty and damages of $1.3 million.  

As a result of the partition action, Schenck Price’s client realized a profit of $1 million. After extensive litigation in both the Chancery and Law Divisions, at trial, Schenck Price was successful in persuading the court that the defendant had failed to establish the necessary elements required under the law to maintain their claims against the Trustees, resulting in the dismissal of the $1.3 million claims. The trial court further agreed with Schenck Price’s argument that the plaintiff was not liable for renovations performed on the commercial building and dismissed the defendant’s counterclaim, as well. Schenck Price’s success in obtaining a dismissal of all charges against their clients at trial was due, in large part, to Catherine’s tenacity, laser focus on the facts of the case, and knowledge of legal precedent.