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Yarro-Canopy Cases Settle On the Eve of Scheduled Hearings
Tuesday, March 08 2005 @ 08:37 AM EST

There is a docket notation in the Yarro v. Kreidel case that says that the case has settled. Bob Mims got confirmation from the Yarro camp, who say there will be a statement released at some point, and that the mirror lawsuit, the Canopy v. Yarro case has also settled. We don't yet know the terms of the settlement, which will have to be presented to the judge. The fact that it is taking so long for a statement, though, indicates that the Yarro camp may not have gotten all they hoped for.

I can't say I am surprised. Marbux told me from day one that this case would likely settle fast. There are vulnerabilities on both sides, on the Noordas' side due to health issues leading to questions about fiduciary duties, and it's obvious what the vulnerabilities were on the other side, and it's embarrassing all around. Also, when a case is mainly about money, it's much, much easier to settle. Both sides throw their best shot, and if it looks like neither has a clear path to victory, or more typically if one side sees it is likely to lose, a settlement is worked out. Most cases settle, by the way, and if your lawyer is any good, he will normally try for one, because the parties can usually do a deal that suits them better than an outsider, a judge, might fashion.

There are situations where you simply never settle. You'd be a dope to settle a frivolous lawsuit, for example, if one were brought against you. Or if it is a litigation hustle, you fight to the death, so to speak, so other opportunists don't see you as an easy mark. But if there is no principle involved, and it's just about money, usually you can work things out realistically based on what the two sides' lawyers see as the most likely outcome.

Lawyers in such a situation are a bit like doctors. Doctors do know most of the time if a patient will die soon. The family may force them to take "heroic" steps anyway (although I view the heroism as more on the part of the patient, frankly, and if you've ever watched such a process, you know what I mean), but they do it knowing it's not going to affect the outcome much.

Lawsuits are like that too. At a certain point, in most lawsuits, you know what the end result is likely to be. At that point, settling is the sensible course, if it can preserve your client's assets. In this case, there was more than just money tilting the case toward settlement, judging by the McBride interview in Business Week.

Meanwhile, here is a press release from vSpring Capital, announcing the "Top Entrepreneurs in the Region," the region meaning Utah, those "individuals deemed most likely to lead a successful tech/biotech venture in the next 5-7 years," dated March 2, almost three months after he was terminated as President and CEO of Canopy Group, and yet there he is, Ralph Yarro, on the list, as "Ralph Yarro, Canopy Group, http://www.canopy.com, President & CEO". Somebody didn't get the memo.

You might be interested in how the selection was made, according to the vspring.com website:

Selection Methodology

Organization of the v|100 began in November of 2003, when top members of the Utah business community were asked by a vSpring team to nominate the top 100 venture entrepreneurs in Utah. Sources contacted include entrepreneurs, accountants, attorneys, investment banks, and business associations and publications. University technology transfer offices and alumni networks, as well as regional research facilities were also contacted. These nominators were asked to nominate those entrepreneurs who best met the following criteria:

  • Individuals who would be most likely to lead a successful venture in the next 5-7 years in IT or Biotech industries.
  • Individuals both with or without current involvement in a startup
  • Individuals with ties to the region (but not required to be Utah residents)
  • Individuals who would be the CEO/CTO of a new venture.

In total, more than 200 professionals were petitioned for nominations, yielding the names of more than 300 successful entrepreneurs. Those 300 nominees were then contacted and invited to vote for their peers through a confidential online survey. They were asked to base their selections on the criteria listed above.

To say that I will be fascinated to see the terms of the settlement of this case is an understatement.


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