After a bench trial spanning 6 days of trial in Orange County Superior Court’s Complex Department, Navigato & Battin’s client, Sheila Guarderas, obtained a decision awarding her $10 million and several hundred thousand dollars in pre-judgment interest, in a breach of contract action against former business partner Steve Holmes. Ms. Guarderas and her company, XccelerateHR, LLC, were also cleared of any liability on all 9 causes of action in Mr. Holmes’ cross-complaint, which sought at least $740,000 from NavBat’s clients. All in all, the case amounted to a complete victory for Ms. Guarderas.
The case raised several issues of complex contractual analysis, fiduciary duty, and indemnification responsibilities, and included expert and percipient witness testimony regarding the formation of the business, the unraveling of the business and its root causes, and the arrangement struck by Ms. Guarderas and Mr. Holmes relating to the disposition of the company’s assets (which formed the basis for the $10 million decision). Trial counsel Travis M. Bray offered the following: “Mr. Holmes made a deal with Ms. Guarderas and reaped all of the benefits of that deal, but when the time came for him to pay up he denied that he owed a dime and did his best to cover his tracks along the way. Credibility of the witnesses was a huge factor in this case. I am glad that we dug up the evidence and got the testimony we needed, both before and during trial, to hold Mr. Holmes accountable for the agreement he made. It was not an easy road, but Ms. Guarderas had the wherewithal to stick to her guns to see her claims verified by the decision reached by the Court. After being told for years by someone she had trusted a great deal that she was lying about their arrangement and that she did not have a leg to stand on, it was certainly a nice feeling to deliver news of this hard-fought decision to Ms. Guarderas.”
About Navigato & Battin, LLP:
Navigato & Battin, LLP is an experienced business law firm. For over 20 years, Navigato & Battin, LLP has prosecuted and defended multi-million dollar lawsuits, in both trial and appeal settings, as well as alternative dispute resolution processes, such as arbitration and mediation. The firm counsels’ corporate clients in dealing with their organizational, labor, and management issues and has represented both corporations and their principals in a variety of business disputes.