JP Helder's Experience
Trial and Litigation Experience
JP has substantial experience trying complex business cases to juries. His jury trial experience includes cases with amounts in controversy in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The following cases illustrate this experience:
Atchison Casting v. Dofasco. JP was co-lead counsel in a major jury trial in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas. The plaintiff, Atchison Casting Corporation, was represented by the noted tobacco defense firm, Shook, Hardy & Bacon. JP, then with Sonnenschein, represented the defendant Dofasco, the second-largest steel company in Canada. The case involved a transaction for the sale of intellectual property and related assets in the steel foundry and locomotive manufacturing industries. The plaintiff sought in excess of $50 million in actual damages and unspecified punitive damages. JP cross-examined 7 of the 10 witnesses in the plaintiff's case, including all experts. JP put on 5 of the 9 witnesses in the defendant's case, including all experts, and gave the final 30 minutes of the closing argument. The jury entered a verdict for the client Dofasco on all counts but one, and on that count awarded the plaintiff no damages.
ADI Business Systems v. Lanter Company. JP represented Lanter Company in a federal jury trial in Kansas City, Missouri. This case involved an alleged oral agreement not to compete for trucking business from the American Italian Pasta Company. The plaintiff, ADI Business Systems, Inc., sought in excess of $3.5 million, though much of those damages were stricken by the Court during the course of the trial. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Lanter.
American Central East Texas Pipeline Company v. Duke Energy Resources. JP handled significant parts of a multi-faceted, multiparty antitrust case on behalf of Duke Energy Corp. and various of its subsidiaries pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The first phase of this case, brought by American Central Eastern Texas Pipeline Company, involved alleged claims for illegal monopolization under Section 2 of the Sherman Act. Those claims, together with various tort claims, were referred to arbitration in Dallas, Texas. The arbitration occurred in June and July of 2000, and in this phase, American Central was represented by Houston's Susman Godfrey firm. American Central sought damages from Union Pacific Resources Company and structural/injunctive relief from subsidiaries of Duke Energy Field Services, Inc. JP handled all of the experts for Duke, including cross-examination of the plaintiff's economists. While the arbitrator did award damages against Union Pacific, the arbitrator refused to award the injunctive relief sought against JP's client, Duke.
The second phase of the antitrust case was tried to a jury in federal court in Marshall, Texas in February and March of 2001. The Furth Firm of San Francisco and McKool Smith of Dallas represented American Central in these proceedings. The codefendants settled during the course of the trial, which ended the jury phase of the case. Duke did not settle and no relief was awarded from Duke. The third phase of this case was tried in Tyler, Texas in August of 2001 and involved Section 1 Conspiracy claims, as well as Section 2 refusal to deal claims. The refusal to deal claims were referred back to arbitration (the fourth phase) and were tried in December 2001 and January of 2002. On the Section 1 conspiracy claims, the Judge found in favor of Duke. In the arbitration, American Central was granted certain contractual relief, but was refused the divestiture it sought.
JP has also been involved in major cases that have settled, including a major antitrust case for Duke Energy's then-subsidiary, the Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company. The plaintiffs were a number of affiliated pipe line companies operating as the Kansas Pipeline Operating Company. They sued Panhandle alleging federal antitrust claims for monopolization, as well as tortious interference with business expectancy. Plaintiffs sought in excess of $300 million. JP took and defended the depositions of the experts, and most fact witnesses. The case was settled after the completion of all discovery.
Formula One Licensing, B.V. v. formula1.com Limited. JP represented Formula1.com Limited and related entities in antitrust, trademark and cybersquatting claims against Formula One Licensing, Formula One Management and the FIA in federal court in San Francisco. Formula One Management claimed that Formula1.com was infringing its marks by using that internet address and covering the sport without authorization. Formula1.com alleged that Formula One Management and the FIA were violating Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act in their efforts to monopolize the sport and put formula1.com out of business. The case was settled in January of 2002. As part of the settlement, Formula1.com was sold to Formula One Management. With London co-counsel, JP handled that transaction.
JP added to his arbitration experience with a successful international arbitration on behalf of his client, SearchHound.com against a English entity. JP also has a successful track record of settling complex cases.
Some of JP’s settlements include:
Settlement of a software copyright infringement claim at the conclusion of the trial in which JP's client sought a preliminary injunction in federal court in Tampa, Florida.
Settlement of fraud and civil RICO claims on behalf of a business plaintiff in the insurance industry.
Settlement of a legal practice claim on behalf of a large corporate plaintiff against one of the nation's largest law firms.
Settlement of a securities case on behalf of a .com in a case involving an unsuccessful merger of two .com companies.
Settlement of a breach of contract and fraud case in the flight simulator industry.
Settlement of an adversarial proceeding in bankruptcy court involving the petroleum refinery industry.
Settlement of an antitrust case involving alleged price-fixing in the food preservative industry.
JP has handled a wide variety of business transactions and shareholder issues. Examples of our business transactions include:
Sale of a major international sports website company
Sale of a regional concrete company
Sale of an internet marketing company
Purchase of a recreational/sporting goods company
Purchase of an insurance agencyHis shareholder experience involves representation of individual shareholders addressing disputes and concerns of various kinds and in various industries. Examples of these industries include:
Dart manufacturing and sales
Web development and design
For these clients we have been involved in stock purchases and sales, business acquisitions, buy/sell and shareholders agreements, and litigation of shareholder disputes.
Class Actions Experience
JP was appointed as co-lead counsel in In re Prempro Products Liability Litigation, a multi-district litigation in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. This case involves class and individual claims relating to hormone therapy. JP also served as lead counsel in Henry v. The Dow Chemical Company, in the Circuit Court of Saginaw County, Michigan. This case involves the dioxin contamination of the Tittabawassee River just downstream of Dow's world headquarters. Prior to founding Stueve Helder Siegel, JP defended some of the nation's largest companies in class action litigation.
JP has been quoted in the Sacramento Bee and Kansas City Star on issues related to his representation of a putative class of WorldCom employees and retirees. These cases have been covered by papers across the country, including The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the Lost Angeles Times. JP also has been quoted in the Detroit News, Midland News, and Saginaw Daily News regarding Henry v. The Dow Chemical Co. JP was also interviewed by the ABC and CBS affiliates in Saginaw and Flint, Michigan in their coverage of the Dow Chemical Case. This case was also covered by the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune, Michigan Public Radio, as well as local radio stations.
JP started his career with Spencer Fane Britt & Browne. He tried a number of cases early in his career, including two criminal and two civil jury trials. JP also tried a three-week case involving corporate corruption and noncompetition agreements.
JP joined Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, now SNR Denton, in 1994. At that time, JP was the fourth lawyer of the newly formed Kansas City office. JP was promoted to partner in 1996, and equity partner in 2000. JP served as hiring partner from 1996 until leaving to found Stueve Helder Siegel. During JP's tenure, Sonnenschein's Kansas City office grew from 4 lawyers to 50.
JP's experience is nationwide and international in scope. He has appeared before courts in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Texas, Washington, D.C. and Wyoming. He has represented clients worldwide, including the Asia, Europe, India, and the UK.
JP was elected to membership in The American Law Institute 2003. Institute membership is limited to lawyers that "have been recognized by the profession as having a record of outstanding achievement in his/her chosen area of the law. The function of The American Law Institute is educational, its exclusive purpose being to promote the clarification and simplification of the law and its better adaptation to social needs, to secure the better administration of justice, and to encourage and carry on scholarly and scientific legal work."
JP served as Co-Chair of the Task Force on Litigation Reform and Rules Revision, Co-Chair of the Year 2000 Legislative Task Force, and was appointed by the Chair of the ABA's Business Law Section to serve as a member of the Electronic Evidence Task Force. From 1992 until 2003, JP served as Chair of the Business Torts Committee of the American Bar Association's Business Law Section. JP was also a member of the Board of Editors of The Business Torts Reporter, a publication of Aspen Law & Business. In 2001 and 2002, JP has authored chapters entitled "Business Torts Litigation" in the annual publication by the American Bar Association entitled "Recent Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation."
From 2003-2006, JP served on the Board of Directors of the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council, a community organization dedicated to improving the lives of those residing in this important inner-city neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri. For ten years JP served as a member of the Board of Directors of Kansas City Young Audiences, an organization dedicated to education through the arts. Previously JP had served terms as Vice Chairman and Secretary of the Board. JP has served in various capacities with the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of Education, Inc. and of the Steering Committee of Centurions, a leadership program of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. JP is also a graduate of Leadership Missouri.
JP's biography is currently listed in Who's Who in America. Previous references include Who's Who in American Law, Who's Who in Commerce and Industry, Who's Who in the Midwest, among others.