Jury awards $563.7 million in Compensatory and Punitive Damages in Petters Ponzi Suit
Anthony Ostlund trial attorneys Joe Anthony, Joe Richie, and Ryan Lawrence, and paralegal Lisa O’Donnell, joined a team of attorneys from Robins Kaplan in representing Douglas Kelley, the court-appointed receiver and bankruptcy trustee for Petters Company Inc., in seeking recovery from BMO Harris Bank N.A. for the role that a predecessor bank played in the Tom Petters Ponzi scheme. Petters had moved over $80 billion through a checking account at an M&I Bank branch in Edina before his arrest in 2008. BMO acquired M&I in 2011.
The Anthony Ostlund Approach
Anthony Ostlund attorneys worked with attorneys from Robins Kaplan to brief pretrial issues, develop the trial strategy, and try the case. Anthony Ostlund attorneys examined many of the witnesses at trial, including the Trustee Doug Kelley and the expert witnesses. The evidence at trial showed that M&I repeatedly ignored warning signs of fraud and money laundering and allowed Petters to run his scheme through the M&I branch.
“Robins Kaplan did an outstanding job working up the case over a number of years and had a group of first-class trial lawyers who did an outstanding job in preparing and trying this case,” said Joseph Anthony. “We were honored to join the team to help bring home a great result for the victims and creditors harmed by Petters.”
After a monthlong trial in federal court before Judge Wilhelmina Wright, the jury found BMO liable for aiding and abetting breaches of fiduciary duty and awarded compensatory damages of approximately $484 million and $79.5 million in punitive damages, resulting in the largest jury verdict in Minnesota history. With prejudgment interest, the total award may swell to over $1 billion.
Kelley v. BMO Harris Bank N.A., Case No. 19-cv-1756 (WMW) (D. Minn.)