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Mark A. Thornhill


Spencer Fane attorney Mark A. Thornill square

T 816.292.8119
F 816.474.3216

Sarbanes-Oxley Investigation Finds Executive Malfeasance

Mark represented the Audit Committee of a Kansas company in its investigation of potential malfeasance by the company’s chief executive officer. The investigation focused on whether the CEO used company funds for personal expenses. Mark conducted scores of interviews and traced the CEO’s spending in thousands of transactions over five years. Following his investigation, the CEO made substantial reimbursements to the company and the company made an SEC disclosure regarding the investigation.


German Company Wins Derivative Case

Mark represented a German company and its president in a derivative case regarding management of a United States subsidiary. The derivative case was filed by the subsidiary’s minority shareholder. The shareholder claimed the German company and its president, deprived the subsidiary of $25 million due to it for sales and inventions. Mark’s clients defeated the sales claims at the summary judgment stage and the inventions claims at trial. The result was a total vindication for Mark’s client.


Defense Verdict on Fiduciary Duty Claim

Mark represented The Guardian Life Insurance Company in a fiduciary duty case that challenged the practices of agents and oversight by their supervisors. The agents allegedly developed a fiduciary relationship with the insureds and then sold the insureds life policies and annuities that were improper. Supervisors allegedly allowed the conduct, even though it was inconsistent with Company procedures. All claims by the insureds were denied by Guardian and the jury agreed as it issued a defense verdict. This highly contentious case was tried in spring 2012 in St. Louis.


Criminal Antitrust Defendant Receives Minimal Sentence

Mark represented the president of a ready-mix concrete company in a criminal antitrust case in the Northern District of Iowa. The president entered an agreement with a competitor to fix the price of ready-mix concrete sold to a particular customer class. Documents obtained pursuant to a search warrant were strong evidence of the agreement. The competitor had similar agreements with executives of other ready-mix companies, creating a “hub and spoke” conspiracy. Mark’s client pled guilty to the antitrust charges and received a minimal sentence of 45 days. The trial judge stated that his sentencing decision was influenced by Mark’s brief and presentation at the sentencing hearing. Other defendants in the conspiracy were sentenced to jail terms up to four years.


Additional experience

  • Represented the owner of a construction company in a federal tax evasion case.
  • Represented a Germany-based company and its US subsidiary in a fiduciary duty trial brought by a shareholder of the US subsidiary.
  • Represented directors of a start-up Delaware corporation against claims of fiduciary duty breaches and misrepresentations.