Wiggin and Dana Secures Victory for Lilly Lea Perry
Wiggin and Dana, working with its Co-counsel, Jeremy Anderson, at Fish and Richardson, recently secured a victory for its client, Lilly Lea Perry, in the Delaware Chancery Court. Ms. Perry is the widow of a wealthy decedent who owned a single member Delaware LLC with a single asset – an estate in the south of France worth an estimated € 30 million.
Our client alleged that the Decedent’s Swiss based lawyer, Dieter Walter Neupert, and Lichtenstein based trustee, LOPAG, conspired to convert the LLC when they manipulated it from an LLC to a corporation with all shares assigned to a foundation they controlled. The trustee moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, claiming that the Decedent signed a Deed of Assignment transferring his interest in the LLC to the foundation.
The Court held a two day evidentiary hearing, and in doing so, found by a preponderance of the evidence that, “Lilly proved that the Foundation and Neupert conspired to seize the Company’s equity, thereby extinguishing her beneficial interest and engaging in the tort of conversion.”
The Court also found that, “the Foundation’s representatives knew that the Deed of Assignment was never implemented. Despite this knowledge, they caused the Foundation to participate fully in Neupert’s scheme to assert control over the Company. They did so in an effort to coerce Lilly into accepting the disposition of Israel’s property that Neupert and Lopag wanted to implement. As part of that scheme, the Lopag representatives helped Neupert manufacture documents to substantiate the Foundation’s claim of ownership. Naeff and his colleagues at Lopag also sought to obtain a legal opinion attesting to the valid issuance of the shares. In an effort to secure a favorable opinion, Naeff and a Lopag colleague misled the law firm by withholding material information.”
After the hearing and briefing, the Court denied the motion to dismiss.
The Wiggin and Dana team was led by Partners, David Hall and Steven Malech, and included Associates, Jacob Sand, Michael Kenny, Jr. and Rebekah Gulash.