The Interfinancial Corporation (IFC) was formed in 1961 by Marcel Degraye. Since 1961, IFC has been involved in the design and construction of several major engineering projects around the world, including oil and gas pipelines, underground gas storage facilities, oil refineries, and the like. For most of its existence, IFC was owned by five shareholders. In 1994, three of those shareholders were bought out, leaving Mr. Degraye and Mr. Lazzari as 50/50 owners of IFC. On, September 7, 2004, Mr. Degraye died. Soon thereafter, Mr. Lazzari claimed that either he, individually, or IFC was owed in excess of $50 million dollars by Mr. Degraye’s estate.
Mr. Lazzari filed a derivative suit against Mr. Degraye’s estate asserting claims under Delaware law for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract and sought an accounting. Originally, Plaintiff sought in excess of $50 million as alleged actual damages. As a result of the discovery process, Plaintiff was forced to abandon a number of his original allegations, leaving only the claim that Mr. Degraye breached his fiduciary duties by purposefully overpaying the former shareholders of IFC and its subsidiaries $4.2 million when their interests were redeemed in the mid-1990’s.
At trial, Plaintiff put on expert George Parks, a former FBI agent, and Mr. Lazzari. After defense counsel’s cross-examination, Plaintiff rested, and the court granted Defendant’s motion for directed verdict on all grounds.