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October 2021

Multi-State Team Secures Significant Victory for National Debt Buyer Client

Following a bench trial presided over by Alaska superior court Judge Andrew Guidi, the multi-office team of Partner Avanti Bakane, Of Counsel George Cruickshank, Senior Counsel Mary Curtin, and law clerk Emily Woodward, defeated the debtor’s Unfair Trade Practices Act ("UTPA") counterclaims seeking monetary and injunctive relief against the firm's client.  In the underlying action, the client sought to collect amount due and owing on the debtor’s account.  The debtor’s UTPA counterclaims - in particular the debtor’s request for state-wide injunction - propelled the action from a simple collection matter into a superior court trial.

Led by Curtin’s strong briefing throughout pre-trial and trial proceedings, in connection with Woodward’s meticulous witness and evidence preparation, the team unraveled the opposing side’s motivation behind filing and substance of baseless claims. Striking at the heart of debtor’s counsel’s strained and “hyper-technical” arguments, Judge Guidi found that the UTPA was never intended to be applied as broadly as debtor’s counsel proposed and should not be used to try to supplant the “normal judicial remedies” set forth in the rules of civil procedure.  

The court heavily adopted the team’s proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, allowing for strong authority in support of defenses to the various lawsuits debtors in Alaska are pursuing against the client on these fee-shifting claims.

As an added bonus, the client is now well positioned in seeking to recover its fees and costs pursuant to offers of judgment served early on in the litigation.

Avanti D. Bakane
George M. Cruickshank