Global law firm Baker McKenzie has secured a rarely seen full sanctions award for The HallStar Company ("Hallstar") following 12 years of litigation related to frivolous mass tort claims filed by an Ohio plaintiff's attorney on various theories of corporate successor liability. Judge Hanna, writing for the trial court in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, on May 2, awarded $250,000, the full amount Hallstar had sought from the plaintiff's firm run by attorney Tom Bevan.

"Bevan's repeated frivolous claims and lack of respect for the litigation process or the court was plainly clear," said Mark Karasik, Senior Counsel in Baker McKenzie's Litigation & Government Enforcement Practice. "We are pleased to have secured this terrific outcome for our client."

Bevan first sued Hallstar, a chemical manufacturing company, in 2010, naming Hallstar as a defendant on a theory of corporate successor liability. That case proceeded into discovery until Bevan voluntarily withdrew it, without a decision on the merits. Over the next decade, Bevan proceeded to sue, then voluntarily non-suit, Hallstar in four more consecutive cases in Ohio. Each case was premised on theories of alleged corporate successor liability, alter ego, veil piercing, and fraudulent transfer. In each case, Baker McKenzie defended Hallstar vigorously, led by Mark and Partner Kyle Olson.

Baker McKenzie first sought sanctions against Bevan for his campaign of frivolous, multi-defendant, mass tort suits in 2015. After Bevan sued Hallstar yet again in 2020, Baker McKenzie asked the Ohio court to take action on Hallstar's pending sanctions motion that was pending from a 2017 case in which Bevan had (again) sued Hallstar. In Monday's sanctions ruling, which followed two sanctions hearings and multiple rounds of briefing, the judge issued a written ruling against Bevan for the full $250,000 sanctions amount, plus costs -- a result that is virtually un-heard of in any mass tort context in Ohio or the US. Throughout the sanctions process, Mark and Kyle noted Bevan's failure to personally show up to explain himself to the court. Judge Hanna seized on this point in his final decision, ruling not only that Bevan's claims against Hallstar were "baseless," but also finding that Bevan's "stunning absence from both hearings left his counsel with little to argue."

Baker McKenzie's litigation practice is one of the most recognized and largest globally, with more than 1,000 dispute resolution practitioners in 46 countries. Our dispute resolution team comprises battle-tested litigators with deep roots in their home jurisdictions. Consistently top-ranked by leading market surveys, our commercial litigation practice represents clients in complex multijurisdictional litigation. Our cases frequently involve novel and precedent-setting issues in countries around the world, including markets where competing law firms do not have a local presence.
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