Stoll Berne attorneys Tim DeJong, Keith Ketterling and Lydia Anderson-Dana represented a prominent Northwest law firm in the defense of a purported class action seeking to recover against the law firm for securities sold by its former client. The case presents novel issues concerning securities sold for a decade after the attorney-client relationship ended.

Stoll Berne attorney Tim DeJong is co-lead counsel for the investors in a massive, $1 billion securities class action against the perpetrators of an alleged Ponzi scheme and those who aided and abetted it. The case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. All motions to dismiss filed by defendants were dismissed.

Stoll Berne attorneys Tim DeJong and Emily Johnson represented a class of investors in securities seller Portland Development Group Investments, LLC.  The investors alleged that the seller falsely inflated its financial statements that were published in its offering documents, and that the seller’s accounting firm, lawyers, and others were liable for aiding and assisting the securities sales.  A settlement of $2.5 million was approved by the Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Stoll Berne attorney Tim DeJong represented the plaintiff taxpayer in an estate tax malpractice suit against an accounting firm for negligence in the late filing of an estate tax return. A settlement was reached prior to trial and plaintiff recovered 88% of her tax liability.

Stoll Berne attorneys Keith Dubanevich and Cody Berne, along with plaintiffs’ co-counsel The Keeton Firm LLC, represent a proposed consumer class for claims alleging that Kettle Foods uses deceptive and misleading practices with respect to its marketing and sale of its popular and widely distributed, Kettle Brand Chips. Plaintiffs allege that Kettle Foods uses the word “natural” to describe their chips and ingredients on their packaging and in their marketing. Plaintiffs allege that this is deceptive and misleading as there are at least two artificial ingredients thereby negating, to a reasonable consumer, that they are, in fact, “natural.”

Stoll Berne attorneys Steve Berman and Keith Ketterling, acting as special assistant attorneys general, defended a constitutional challenge to Oregon’s eviction ban. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and devastating wildfires, the Oregon legislature enacted a law that temporarily prevented landlords from evicting tenants for non-payment of rent. The law ensured that Oregonians would not lose their homes during the economic downturn. It also helped prevent displacement during a time when the public was safest remaining at home. On behalf of the State of Oregon, and Governor Brown, Stoll Berne moved to dismiss the case. The motion was granted in February 2022, and a final judgement was entered in the State’s favor.

Stoll Berne attorneys Steve Berman and Keith Ketterling, acting as special assistant attorneys general, defended a constitutional challenge to Oregon’s foreclosure ban. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oregon legislature enacted a law that temporarily prevented lenders from foreclosing on borrowers or charging fees to borrowers for late payments. On behalf of the State of Oregon, Oregon’s Attorney General and Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, Stoll Berne moved to dismiss the case.  That motion was granted in February 2022, and a final judgment was entered in the State’s favor.

Cody Berne and Andy Davis represented a mortgage lending company in a quiet title action filed in Jackson County Circuit Court. The plaintiffs sought to quiet title in a residential property located in Medford, Oregon, and named the mortgage lending company in the lawsuit, even though the company had no interest in the property. Stoll Berne prepared a disclaimer of interest, and the mortgage lending company was dismissed for want of prosecution. 

Cody Berne represented a foreign corporation in a dispute involving goods that were manufactured for use in the energy industry. A third-party allegedly hacked into the email system of a parts manufacturer and redirected a payment for a specially manufactured part. The dispute involved the Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”), including Oregon statutes modeled after the UCC that apply to contracts for the sale of goods and funds transfers. Legal issues included personal jurisdiction over a foreign corporation, as well as when the UCC displaces the common law, known as UCC displacement.

Stoll Berne is investigating the use of Turnkey Asset Management Programs, often called TAMPs. We are interested in speaking with investors whose adviser or broker-dealer is using a TAMP as part of managing the investor’s account.  You can contact us here or fill out the form below.

Some investment advisers use TAMPs to provide back-office services. These back-office services can include anything from compliance to risk analysis to identifying investment options. The adviser benefits by outsourcing services and functions that they would otherwise have to take care of in house. Many clients whose adviser is using a TAMP are unaware that a TAMP is involved or do not understand the TAMP’s role. These investors may think that their adviser is managing their money and making investment recommendation. In fact, the TAMP may effectively be making investment decisions. In these cases, the adviser is little more than a “finder” who signs up clients and turns over their accounts to the TAMP.

Using a TAMP comes with added expenses and fees. In many cases, these expenses and fees are passed on to the investor. The added fees and expenses may not appear as separate entries on account statements. Instead, they may be included within other fees that are reported on the account statements. This conceals the cost to the investor of the adviser’s use of the TAMP. 

Use of TAMPs may also limit the investment options available to clients. TAMPs will often include a set of investment options that the adviser must select from. In some cases, these limited options are higher fee, higher risk, or otherwise inferior to other investments that but for the adviser’s use of the TAMP could be available to the investor. This can mean that the TAMP and adviser are steering investors to unsuitable investments.

Please contact us if you think there may be an issue with your investment account that involves a TAMP.

Fill out the form below to send us an email. We'll reply as soon as we can.

Please note that these transmissions do not create an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship is effective only after you and our firm expressly agree in writing that we will serve as your attorney. 

Cody Berne represented a retired couple with claims against a Registered Investment Adviser and Investment Adviser Representatives arising from losses in managed retirement accounts caused by the advisers’ unsuitable trading strategy. The unsuitable trades included put and call options contracts.

Stoll Berne attorney Andy Davis represented Menashe Properties in its acquisition of Heritage Square, a high-profile office campus located just west of the Galleria shopping mall in the north suburbs of Dallas, Texas. Heritage Square is comprised of approximately 370,000 square feet of space within two high rise office buildings. The property includes a site for additional development. Heritage Square represents the first Dallas acquisition for Menashe Properties. Andy handled all legal aspects of this transaction.    

Stoll Berne, led by attorneys Keith Dubanevich, Tim DeJong, Keil Mueller, and Lydia Anderson-Dana was appointed co-lead counsel along with Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP (BLB&G) on behalf of lead plaintiff the State of Oregon by and through the Oregon State Treasurer and the Oregon Public Employee Retirement Board, on behalf of the Oregon Public Employee Retirement Fund (Oregon) in a securities class action against CenturyLink, Inc. and certain of its senior executives. The case involved claims pursuant to Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 arising out of false and misleading statements concerning the Company’s fraudulent billing practices from March 1, 2013 through July 12, 2017 (the Class Period).

During the Class Period, CenturyLink made a series of false and misleading statements, including that: its employees were subject to a strict code of ethics; that its sales and customer services personnel “promote[d] sales of services that [met] the needs of [CenturyLink’s] customers”; and that its “customers value[d] the convenience and price discounts associated with receiving multiple services through a single company.” The Company also reported strong revenue growth and sales, and represented that its financial condition was strong and growing.

In truth, CenturyLink incentivized unethical and unlawful behavior, including by allowing CenturyLink employees to add services, lines, and accounts for customers without their permission, resulting in millions of dollars in unauthorized charges to CenturyLink customers. Further, contrary to CenturyLink’s representations, the Company’s revenues and earnings growth were simply unsustainable because they were dependent upon improper and illegal conduct that subjected the Company to heightened regulatory scrutiny, governmental action, and significant fines and sanctions that could severely curtail its business.

Investors learned the true facts about the Company’s business practices and financial condition through a series of corrective disclosures. First, on June 16, 2017, Bloomberg reported that a former CenturyLink employee filed a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that she was wrongfully terminated after notifying CenturyLink’s CEO about the Company’s improper sales practices, including secretly billing millions of dollars of unauthorized charges to CenturyLink customers. On June 19, 2017, Bloomberg reported that a consumer class action lawsuit against the Company had been filed on behalf of CenturyLink customers seeking up to billions of dollars in damages in connection with CenturyLink’s unlawful billing practices. Then, on July 12, 2017, the Minnesota Attorney General announced that it had filed a lawsuit against CenturyLink alleging violations of state consumer protection laws after a year-long investigation which provided extensive detail concerning CenturyLink’s billing misconduct. These revelations resulted in sharp declines in the prices of CenturyLink’s securities, causing investors to incur substantial losses.

In the wake of these disclosures, on June 21, 2017, the first of several securities class actions was filed against the Company. On October 20, 2017, Magistrate Judge H. L. Perez-Montes of the Western District of Louisiana consolidated the related securities class actions and appointed Oregon as Lead Plaintiff, and Stoll Berne and BLB&G as Co-Lead Counsel.

In February 2018, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred the consolidated actions to the District of Minnesota before the Honorable Michael J. Davis. On April 20, 2018, Judge Davis consolidated a subsequently-filed securities class action against CenturyLink under Oregon’s leadership. On June 25, 2018, Oregon filed a consolidated securities class action complaint. In July 2019, Judge Davis denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss. On September 14, 2020, Judge Davis certified the proposed class, appointed Oregon class representative, and appointed Stoll Berne class counsel along with Bernstein Litowitz. In November 2020, the parties reached a tentative settlement, including settlement amount of $55,000,000 in cash. The Court approved the settlement in July 2021, and claims currently are being processed.

RECENT NEWS
September 15, 2020, Bloomberg Law: CenturyLink Investors Get Class Status in Overbilling Litigation
Setpember 15, 2020, Retuers: CenturyLink Shareholders in ‘Cramming’ Lawsuit Can Proceed as Class

 

COURT: United States District Court for the District of Minnesota
CASE NUMBER: 3:17-md-02795-MJD-KMM (MDL); 0:18-cv-00296-MJD-KMM (Securities)
JUDGE: U.S.D.J. Michael J. Davis.; U.S.M.J. Katherine M. Menendez
CLASS PERIOD: 03/01/2013 – 07/12/2017
CASE CONTACTS: Timothy DeJong, Keith Dubanevich, Keil Mueller, Lydia Anderson-Dana

Stoll Berne attorneys Cody Berne and Keil Mueller represented a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) and an Investment Adviser Representative (IAR) in a dispute about the sale of a book of business and an RIA.

Stoll Berne attorney Andy Davis represented Menashe Properties purchased the 105,000 square foot Vancouver Village Shopping Center. Andy represented Menashe Properties in all aspects of the acquisition and financing of this property.

Stoll Berne attorney Andy Davis served as lead counsel in connection with the $113 million acquisition of the 300,000 square foot historic Medical Dental Building in Seattle, Washington. The deal came upon the heels of Menashe Properties sale of the Creekside at Centerpoint in Kent, Washington. An IRS section 1031 exchange aided in deferring capital gains from the Creekside sale as part of this acquisition. Andy helped the client in all legal aspects of the purchase and financing of this acquisition. 

Stoll Berne attorney Andy Davis served as lead counsel in connection with the $39 million sale of the 225,000 square foot Creekside at Centerpoint in Kent, Washington. Originally purchased three years earlier, it was Menashe Properties first acquisition outside the Portland metro region.  Andy helped the client in all legal aspects of the disposition of this property.

Stoll Berne shareholder Josh Ross represented four different victims of a fraud perpetrated by a Spokane-area broker. Ross helped his clients recover over $450,000 in stolen investments. 

Stoll Berne lawyer Josh Ross represented one of two co-trustees in a dispute between them regarding administration of trust assets. After the co-trustees’ mother died, a dispute arose regarding distribution of the assets among the co-trustees and their family members, and the administration of the trust’s assets. Ross helped negotiate a dismissal of two lawsuits filed by the other co-trustee and helped our client reach a settlement resolving all remaining claims. 

Josh Ross represented a client who was appointed Personal Representative of a family member’s estate. After the former husband of the family member died, the estate pursued claims against the former husband’s estate, claiming that he owed the estate over $200,000 in unpaid debts. After filing suit, Ross and his client demonstrated the validity of the debts and negotiated a highly favorable settlement of the claims.