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Home / Legal News / Kohner, Mann & Kailas prevails in $17M counterclaim

Kohner, Mann & Kailas prevails in $17M counterclaim

The Milwaukee law firm Kohner, Mann & Kailas has prevailed in a $17 million counterclaim filed against a client in a breach-of-agreement lawsuit spanning nearly six years.

Universal Processing Services of Wisconsin sued Samuel Hicks and his company, Merchant Card Services, for breach of agreement in 2014. Hicks then filed a counterclaim alleging Universal Processing had terminated his contract unfairly and owed him $17 million in lost revenue.

A Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge appointed a special master/referee to assist in coordinating pretrial issues and discovery matters in 2015. Kohner, Mann & Kailas challenged the appointment, and the case landed in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. In 2017, the high court vacated the order and more than a year’s worth of rulings made by the special master/referee.

The case went to trial in January 2020. A Milwaukee County jury heard more than two weeks of testimony and argument before returning a verdict in favor of Universal Processing. The jury decided Universal Processing appropriately terminated the contract and the defendants wrongly interfered with Universal Processing’s relationship with its customers. The jury also rejected the defendants’ $17 million counterclaim.

Type of action: Civil litigation

Jury verdict: Universal Processing Services of Wisconsin was right to terminate its contract with Hicks, and the company had zero liability to Hicks.
Date of resolution: Jan. 29, 2020

Case name: Universal Processing Services of Wisconsin, LLC, v. Hicks, et al.

Case type: Contract

County: Milwaukee

Presiding official: Jeffrey A. Conen

Case number: 14-CV-7986

Plaintiff’s lawyers: Robert L. Gegios, Ryan M. Billings and Melinda A. Bialzik of Kohner, Mann & Kailas, S.C.

Defendant’s lawyers: Paul R. Erickson and Joan M. Huffman of Gutglass, Erickson, Bonville & Larson, S.C.; Geoffrey S. Trotier of von Briesen


About Michaela Paukner, [email protected]

Michaela Paukner is the legal reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal. She can be reached at (414) 225-1825 or by email at [email protected]

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