PRESS RELEASE (COLLIN COUNTY, TX) A business dispute ended (this week) when a Collin County judge sanctioned Altesse Healthcare Solutions, Inc., nearly $900,000 for defying a court order and basically looting a company it purchased and then gave back to the original owners.
Collin Kennedy of Hanshaw Kennedy, LLP said that this rare “death penalty sanction” from State District Judge Scott Becker effectively ended the lawsuit his clients filed against Altesse. Mr. Kennedy’s clients, Allen and Becky Wilson, sold their healthcare business to Altesse in June 2014 for $800,000 and agreed to seller-finance the deal. When the first payment was due, instead of paying the Wilsons, Altesse sued the Wilsons in federal court claiming the sale of the business was fraudulently induced. In December 2014, the Wilsons sued Altesse in state court and sought and received a Temporary Restraining requiring Altesse to turn back over control of the business to the Wilsons and to prevent Altesse from causing further damage to the business.
“Altesse blatantly disregarded the TRO and instead diverted the assets of the business to another entity it controlled,” said Mr. Kennedy, the lead counsel for the Wilsons. His co-counsel was David Wortham. “The Court said it simply could not turn a blind eye to the intentional disobedience of a court order due to the dangerous precedent it would set.”
Shawna Boudreaux, also a Defendant and sole owner of Altesse, admitted under cross-examination from Mr. Kennedy that she did not comply with any of the restrictions in the Court’s order. Ms. Boudreaux and her counsel, Dan Martens, instead argued that Altesse’s violations of the Court’s order were justified and that the order was improper. Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Wortham countered that there was a mechanism in place to challenge the efficacy of the TRO at the time the Court signed the TRO and that Altesse and Ms. Boudreaux did not properly pursue that remedy.
“In Texas, ‘death penalty’ sanctions are extremely rare because they can dispense with the need for a trial,” said Mr. Kennedy. Texas Courts of Appeal have consistently held that death penalty sanctions should only be imposed in exceptional cases when they are clearly justified and when it is apparent that no lesser sanctions would promote compliance with the rules. “Obviously, the Court viewed Altesse’s transgressions in the same way we did,” said Mr. Kennedy.
The case is Wilson v. Altesse Healthcare Solutions, Inc., and Shawna Boudreaux, Cause No. 219-04978-2014, in the 219th Judicial District Court of Collin County.
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