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Lou Stahl is a retired partner with Quarles & Brady LLP. He has more than 35 years experience in civil litigation, with an emphasis on complex commercial matters. Practice areas included: business litigation, securities fraud, legal malpractice, insurance coverage disputes and administrative law. Extensive case management experience included service as Litigation Section Administrator, and responsibility for administering case load of more than forty litigation partners and associates handling over two thousand active cases. Some of the significant litigation matters he has handled are:
Tucson Electric Power Company, et al. v. Arizona Corporation Commission (Consolidated). The Arizona Association of Industries (“AAI”), an industry group which includes many of Arizona’s leading manufacturers and businesses, retained Mr. Stahl to intervene in multiple actions filed by Arizona’s utilities. The utilities challenged a regulation adopted by the Arizona Corporation Commission (“ACC”) that authorized competition in the generation of electricity. AAI’s members are substantial consumers of electricity, and AAI contended that competition will result in a significant reduction in the cost of electricity. The utilities challenged the constitutionality of the Commission’s regulation and, in addition, they questioned the statutory authority of the Commission to authorize competition. The trial court granted the ACC and AAI’s motions for summary judgment. The court ruled that the constitution does empower the Commission to authorize competition in generation and that there is no statutory impediment to competition.
Western States Petroleum Association v. Clark County District Board of Health. The Firm was retained by Clark County, Nevada (which includes Las Vegas) to represent it in connection with a lawsuit filed by the Western States Petroleum Association (“WSPA”) challenging the county’s authority to regulate the minimum content of oxygen in gasoline sold in the Las Vegas area. WSPA challenged the County’s authority under both Nevada law and the Federal Clean Air Act. We moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s Complaint for lack of jurisdiction in the District Court; the court agreed that the Ninth Circuit had exclusive jurisdiction, and the plaintiff’s Complaint was dismissed.
Motorola, Inc. v. Arizona Department of Revenue. We were retained by Motorola to challenge the Department of Revenue’s collection of use tax on overhead and independent research and development (“IRAD”) materials used by defense contractors in fulfilling contracts with the federal government. The case involved complex accounting and regulatory issues arising out of the Federal Acquisition Regulation and Cost Accounting Standards. The trial court granted Motorola’s Motion for Summary Judgment and ordered the State to refund the use taxes paid by Motorola. In addition, the trial court abated the Department’s assessment of additional use taxes. The Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s entry of judgment in favor of Motorola. See 196 Ariz. 137, 993 P.2d 1101, 1999 WL 486349 (Ariz. App. 1999).
Kas v. Bank One. Plaintiff Irving Kas filed a class action against Valley National Bank and Bank One in connection with the acquisition of Valley National Bank by Bank One of Columbus. Plaintiff alleged that the proxy statement relating to the merger contained material misrepresentations, and he attempted to assert claims under the federal securities laws. Damages were claimed to be approximately $9 million. Plaintiff was represented by the firm of Abbey & Ellis in New York. We filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim on behalf of Bank One and Valley National Bank. In a written opinion, the U.S. District Court, District of Arizona granted our motion to dismiss. See Fed. Sec. L. Rep. p. 98,073, 1993 W.L. 616687 (D. Ariz.). Plaintiff agreed not to appeal in exchange for an agreement that all parties would bear their own costs and attorneys’ fees.
Solomon, et al. v. Kemper Securities, et al. The Firm was retained by eleven broker-dealers to defend a class action filed in Phoenix by plaintiffs who alleged that the broker-dealers had illegally deprived them of interest on free credit balances. Plaintiffs alleged that their damages were approximately $1 billion. We filed a number of motions on behalf of the defendants, including a motion to dismiss or stay the litigation because Phoenix was an inconvenient forum in which to litigate the issues. The trial court agreed and ordered the plaintiffs to file their class action in New York. The Arizona litigation was stayed indefinitely, and attorneys for the plaintiffs subsequently filed their action in New York. After losing on motion in New York, plaintiffs attempted to pursue the litigation pending in Phoenix. We moved to dismiss and the court granted our motion.
Rascon, et al. v. Transamerica Financial Corp., et al. We represented Transamerica Financial in a class action, in which the plaintiffs sought to invalidate Transamerica’s entire small loan portfolio in the State of Arizona. Plaintiffs asked the court to determine that Transamerica’s borrowers were not required to repay either principal or interest because of an alleged violation of a small loan statute. Plaintiffs claimed damages of approximately $30 million. The litigation involved complex questions of statutory interpretation and a number of affirmative defenses which presented significant constitutional law issues. After several years of litigation, we were able to obtain summary judgment, which was affirmed by the Arizona Court of Appeals. See 168 Ariz. 201, 812 P.2d 1019 (Ariz. App. 1990).
Honeywell, Inc. v. Unisys Corporation, et al. Honeywell sued Unisys and a number of others in the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. Honeywell’s claims arose out of the purchase of Sperry Aerospace from Unisys. Honeywell alleged that the financial statements given to it did not include adequate reserves for certain avionics contracts and that, as a result, it paid approximately $350 to $400 million more than it otherwise would have for the business. Honeywell asserted claims under Section 10(b) and 10(b)(5), as well as the Minnesota securities fraud statute. In addition, Honeywell asserted common law claims for fraud and negligent misrepresentation. We represented the former President of Sperry Aerospace. Over a period of three and a half years, approximately 150 depositions were taken and a number of motions were prepared and argued. The case eventually settled, but our client was not required to contribute to the settlement.
Linthicum v. Nationwide Life Ins. Co. Mr. Stahl was retained by the American Council of Life Insurance Companies and the Health Insurance Association of America to appear as amicus curiae in connection with a case that had resulted in an award against Nationwide of $2 million in punitive damages. In the Arizona Court of Appeals, we argued that the award of punitive damages should be reversed and that the standard for an award of punitive damages should be clarified. The Court of Appeals reversed the punitive damages award. See 150 Ariz. 354, 723 P.2d 703. The Arizona Supreme Court granted review and articulated a new standard for the imposition of punitive damages. The court held that punitive damages may be awarded only upon clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s evil mind. Essentially, the court adopted the standard that we suggested. The Linthicum case is one of the leading cases in Arizona on the subject of punitive damages. The Supreme Court’s decision is reported at 150 Ariz. 326, 723 P.2d 675 (1986).
In re Zila Securities Litigation. Mr. Stahl was retained to represent Zila, Inc. and its Chairman in the defense of claims asserted by former and present shareholders under § 10(b) and Rule 10(b)(5). The litigation arose out of an FDA panel’s decision not to recommend one of Zila’s products, OraTest, an oral mouth rinse, for approval without further clinical testing. After a class was certified and discovery essentially completed, the matter was compromised and settled on favorable terms shortly before it was scheduled to go to trial.
- Some of the other reported cases in which Mr. Stahl was involved include Linder v. Brown & Herrick, 189 Ariz. 398, 943 P.2d 758 (App. 1997); Snow v. Western Savings and Loan Ass’n, 152 Ariz. 20, 730 P.2d 197, vacated in part and remanded at 152 Ariz. 27, 730 P.2d 204 (1986); United California Bank v. Prudential Ins. Co. of America, 140 Ariz. 238, 681 P.2d 390 (1983); and Davis v. First National Bank of Arizona, 124 Ariz. 458, 605 P.2d 37 (1980).
Education and Honors
- University of Notre Dame Law School (J.D., summa cum laude, 1971)
- Received the O’Meara and Hoynes Awards.
- Wheeling Jesuit University (B.A., magna cum laude, 1962)
U.S. Supreme Court, 1975
U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, 1974
Peer Review Rated.
While in active practice, Mr. Stahl was listed in The Best Lawyers in America®
, Southwest Super Lawyers®
and Arizona’s Finest Lawyers (Business Litigation).
Professional and Civic Activities
While in practice, Mr. Stahl also participated in the following professional and civic activities:
- American Bar Association (Member).
- State Bar of Arizona (Chairman, Peer Review Committee, 1991-1995; Member, Rules of Professional Conduct Committee, 1981-1993; Member, Professionalism Committee, 1983-1986; Member, Lawyers Professional Liability Committee, 1982-1988; Chairman, Professional Liability Committee, 1983-1986).
- Maricopa County Bar Association (Member).
- Defense Research Institute (Member).
- Arizona Association of Defense Counsel (Member).
- Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (Member).
- UMOM New Day Centers (Member of Board of Directors, 2006-2010).
- Make-A-Wish® Foundation of Central and Southern Arizona (Member, Board of Directors, 1995-2001; Former President, 1996-1998).
- Lorna Lockwood Inn, Inns of Court (Founding President).
- Arizona Bar Foundation (Founding Fellow and Sustaining Fellow).
- Notre Dame Club of Phoenix (Member).
- American Numismatic Association (Member).
- Contributing Author, “Arizona Professionalism Manual” and “Arizona Attorneys' Fees Manual,” Revised 4th Edition, 2003, both published by the State Bar of Arizona.
Author, “Ex Parte Interviews with Enterprise Employees: A Post Upjohn Analysis,” 44 Washington & Lee Law Review, 1181, 1987.
Co-Author, “Standardized Agreements and the Parole Evidence Rule: Defining and Applying the Expectations Principle,” 26 University of Arizona Law Review 793, 1984.
“Paralegal Services and Awards of Attorneys' Fees Under Arizona Law,” 20 Arizona Bar Journal 21, 1984.