New York (October 4, 2013) - New York Holland & Knight Partner Michael Frevola was named Litigator of the Week by American Lawyer's Litigation Daily for his work in an appellate case on behalf of a group of treasure hunters. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a 28-page decision earlier this week, ruling that Tommy Thompson, who located a steamship that sank off the coast of North Carolina, had to pay the nine technicians and project managers who worked on the salvage operation with him 25 years ago. Their suit for payment was originally filed in 2006.
According to Litigation Daily's description of the matter, Mr. Frevola has been aggressive in court, demanding an inventory of the treasure. When the defendants did not comply with the audit, the judge held them in contempt and in 2011, the judge granted Mr. Frevola's clients summary judgment on all of the defendant's affirmative defenses. In 2012, the judge ordered prejudgment attachment of the gold coins, artifacts and a trust set up by Mr. Thompson.
Mr. Thompson has since disappeared, but before he went missing in late 2012, Mr. Frevola moved to hold him in contempt, saying he had still failed to explain the whereabouts of the money. An arrest warrant was issued, and Mr. Thompson's attorneys told the media that he is "at sea" and unreachable.
The damages portion of the trial will likely begin next year.
Mr. Frevola told Litigation Daily, "The defendants have fought a delaying campaign for a long time. It's really clear when you read the decision that the appeals court sees what's going on and understands that our clients have legitimate claims."
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