On behalf of two of our firm’s largest clients, a multi-office and multi-practice group team of Clark Hill attorneys and others recently obtained a $7,300,000 non-dischargeable fraud and conversion judgment by summary proceedings against their opposition in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The ruling came after substantial briefing completed by Jordan Bolton (Birmingham – Litigation), Peter Jackson (Detroit – Bankruptcy), and Stuart Schwartz (Detroit – Construction); and a nearly two-hour oral argument session, led by Jordan and Stuart, and supported by Tim Lee (Detroit – Summer Associate). Substantial additional support was provided by one of our client’s outside general counsel, Ronald King (Lansing – Litigation).
Stuart M. SchwartzStuart Schwartz Clark Hill
Stuart M. Schwartz
Stuart M. Schwartz is a Member in the Construction Practice Group and the Litigation Practice Group. He concentrates his practice in construction law and commercial litigation, including contract disputes, employment issues, business torts, collection matters, post-judgment proceedings, lien and bond claims, landlord/tenant actions and other real property matters. Stuart was selected for appointment to the State Bar of Michigan’s Character and Fitness Committee and has been recognized multiple times by Michigan Super Lawyers Magazine as a Rising Star in the practice area of commercial litigation.
Stuart received his Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Studies from Duke University and earned his Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University Law School. In law school, Stuart was awarded the Leonard I. Neiman Scholarship for the outstanding student in Property, Land Use, and Real Estate Financing and served as senior member of the Moot Court team.
Prior to graduating, Stuart also gained extensive experience in both Federal and State Courts, as a judicial intern to the Honorable Gerald E. Rosen of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and a clerk to several Oakland County Circuit Court Judges.
A former Collegiate Lacrosse All-American and Academic All-American, Stuart also serves as a volunteer assistant coach for the Cranbrook-Kingswood boys varsity lacrosse team.
Stuart resides in Bloomfield Hills with his wife and three children.
Our client, Daniels Building Company, was the successful awardee of a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs construction contract to renovate existing kitchen and food storage areas at the Battle Creek VA Medical Center in Battle Creek, MI. The procurement was set aside for award only to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (“SDVOSB”) approved through the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation (“CVE”). After announcement of the award, a disappointed unsuccessful offeror filed a SDVOSB status protest challenging whether Daniels Building was actually a SDOVSB and thus ineligible for the contract award. Daniels Building engaged Clark Hill to defend this protest, which if sustained could have potentially destroyed our client’s business due to its dependency on federal SDVOSB set-aside contracts.
The protestor alleged that, through two separate joint ventures with two different companies with no connection to the VA’s procurement award, that Daniels was (1) controlled by a large company and thus no longer small; and/or (2) was controlled by non-veterans in conflict with the VA’s regulations. The protestor also alleged that Daniels Building fraudulently obtained its SDVOSB certification by intentionally filing false information with, and withholding key information from, the VA. The Clark Hill team of Bret Wacker, Stuart Schwartz and Nicole Tersigni prepared, in the mandated 5 day response period, a detailed brief demonstrating Daniels Building is in fact owned and controlled by a service disabled veteran; and that the protestor’s attempts to defame and discredit Daniels Building Company were without basis in fact or law. The VA agreed with Daniels Building that its joint venture relationships had no bearing on the ownership or control of our client, and that the protestor’s evidence was not compelling enough to overturn Daniels Building Company’s SDVOSB certification. Our client is now able to move forward with contract performance at the Battle Creek VA Medical Center.
In a pro bono case, Nicole Tersigni (under the supervision of Jordan Bolton and Stuart Schwartz) successfully prosecuted our clients’ primary breach of contract claim, and successfully defended our clients’ fraud claims through summary disposition proceedings. In short, our clients hired the defendant contractors to remodel our clients’ modest 900 square foot home, so the main level would be accessible to their severely disabled son. The defendant contractors took our clients’ money, completed a portion of the work, then walked off the job, claiming fraud in the inducement. After taking a significant supporting role in discovery, and a lead role in getting the defendant contractors’ counterclaims dismissed as a sanction for their discovery abuses, Nicole took a lead role in the briefing related to competing motions for summary. The Court dispensed with oral argument, granted our clients’ motion on their breach of contract action, and denied the defendant contractors’ request to dismiss our clients’ fraud claims.