Niemi, et al v. Burgess, et al, No. 12-1233 (10th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff-Appellee John Niemi and several investors intended to build a large luxury ski condominium complex. Niemi was unable to find traditional financing for the project, and turned to Florida businessman, Defendant Michael Burgess. Burgess claimed to represent a European investor, Defendant-Appellee Erwin Lasshofer. As part of the funding scheme, plaintiff had to pay certain fees and pledge a collateral deposit before $250 million dollars would be loaned to him (and his business partners/investors) for the condo project. For his part, Burgess was eventually convicted and sentenced to federal prison for fraud and money laundering. Plaintiffs sued seeking return of the money they pledged, alleging the lost loan irreparably damaged its business, caused millions in lost profits, and sent its other real properties into foreclosure. Burgess maintained he took direction from Lasshofer; Lasshofer claimed he unwittingly did business with a con man. The district court granted plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction effectively freezing Lasshofer's worldwide assets pending final judgment. Lasshofer appealed the grant of the preliminary injunction. Upon careful review, the Tenth Circuit concluded that plaintiffs, Niemi and individual investors in his condo project, lacked standing to bring suit. Therefore the district court erred in granting the injunction. The injunction was vacated and the case remanded for further proceedings.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on September 10, 2013.