Cases and Deals

Blank Rome Wins California Appeal on Behalf of FCI Lender Services and Michael Griffith

A Blank Rome team recently won a significant victory in the California Court of Appeal in Sarsenstone v. Michael Griffith, when the court unanimously affirmed the trial court’s verdict in favor of Firm client Michael Griffith and his company FCI Lender Services, Inc. The plaintiff sought over $20 million in damages based on the claim that Mr. Griffith breached a fiduciary duty to investors who purchased shares in loan pools owned by Old Canal, Inc. A former shareholder in Old Canal, Mr. Griffith divested his interest in the company in 2004, only to be sued five years later by a litigation trustee created by the bankruptcy court in Old Canal’s bankruptcy.   

In 2016, Andy Fletcher led the trial team that defended Mr. Griffith and FCI in a multi-week trial, which ended with the trial court entering judgment in favor of Mr. Griffith and FCI. The Blank Rome team then represented Mr. Griffith and FCI in the plaintiff’s subsequent appeal. In a 20-page opinion issued on June 24, the appellate court rejected all of the plaintiff’s arguments and affirmed the trial court’s verdict. The decision successfully ended a 10-year-long legal battle for our client.