Charles D. Lee, Esq.
A partner in the firm resident in the Kansas City metro office, Charles Lee largely devotes his practice to business and agricultural law, with a particular emphasis on complex litigation, appeals, and alternative dispute resolution.
Before his return in 2022 to private practice, Chuck served as General Counsel at National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS), an international trade association. There he was responsible for corporate and antitrust counseling and government contract analysis in support of the global interests of both domestic and international companies engaged in the federal crop insurance program.
Chuck is licensed to practice in both Kansas and Colorado, as well as the Federal District Courts of both states and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. He is privileged to have been selected as a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA). This honor, extended to less than 0.5% of American lawyers, reflects his litigation accomplishments and ethical reputation in the legal community at both trial and appellate levels.
Chuck is also a long-time member of the American Arbitration Association’s National Roster of Arbitrators and Mediators, which is made up of highly accomplished and respected legal and business professionals who have diverse experiences with a variety of commercial disputes. Members of the Roster receive comprehensive training from the AAA in managing the dispute resolution process fairly, efficiently, and economically. AAA arbitrators are bound by AAA standards of behavior and ethics to be fair and unbiased. Chuck has served as an arbitrator in a wide range of matters that have gone to evidentiary hearing and award. He has chaired and participated in arbitral panels and served as a sole arbitrator.
Active participation and leadership in legal forums and associations have marked Chuck’s career. He has served the Kansas Bar Association in various capacities including as a member of the Board of Editors for the Journal of the Kansas Bar Association and President of the Corporation, Business, and Banking Law Section. He has been a frequent speaker at seminars organized by entities such as the American Bar Association and the Kansas Bar Association and a published author addressing various topics including antitrust, corporate and franchise law.
Bridging the roles of counselor and litigator, Chuck brings a wealth of experience and a demonstrable history in complex civil litigation, business representation, and agricultural law. His career has been enriched by contributions to legal thought leadership, association activities, and peer-to-peer knowledge sharing.
PRACTICE PROFILEComplex Business and Agribusiness Litigation Alternative Dispute Resolution Antitrust Counseling Business and Corporate Law Mergers and Acquisitions
EXPERIENCEOver 40 years' experience in complex civil litigation and business representation. Practice is primarily devoted to the representation of mid-sized banks, agricultural and business entities in the areas above noted. Partner, Lee Schwalb LLC, 2022 – Present Partner, Lee Law LLC, 2022 General Counsel, National Crop Insurance Services, 2012 – 2022 Partner, Martindell Swearer Shaffer Ridenour LLP, 1979 – 2012
REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTSLitigation Prosecution of breach of contract and fraud action against a Kansas grain cooperative with total damages, affirmed on appeal, of 2.2 million dollars. Successful defense as co-counsel in class litigation seeking $90 million for two certified classes alleging damages from leakage of natural gas from underground storage facility. Successful defense of physician in relation to litigation seeking damages in excess of $100,000 and injunctive relief involving allegations of breach of a noncompetition covenant. Prosecution of products liability action seeking damages for economic losses suffered as the result of application of a chemical to a commercial potato crop with a confidential settlement exceeding 95% of the pre-suit demand. Successful prosecution of securities arbitration with claimed damages in excess of $1,000,000. Successful defense, by summary judgment, of national banking group in multimillion-dollar litigation involving allegations of breach of contract in relation to loan participation obligations. Successful defense verdict in representation of regional bank group in lender liability litigation seeking in excess of $750,000 in damages. Successful representation of regional bank group in recovering approximately $500,000 in cattle proceeds converted by feed yards. Successful summary judgment motion in favor of hospital group sued by group funded health insurance pool seeking damages in excess of $200,000. Successful litigation on behalf of shareholders of closely held regional telephone company resulting in payments to nineteen shareholders in excess of $50,000 per share. Successful defense of regional highway construction and aggregate supplier in multimillion dollar litigation alleging the production and supply of defective concrete aggregate. Successful defense of regional industrial gas supplier against multimillion dollar claim that a senior corporate officer engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment and discrimination. Successful defense in Pennsylvania and Kansas federal courts of the global leader in contract monitoring for the oil and gas pipeline industry in relation to multimillion dollar tortious interference and unfair competition claims. Mergers and Acquisitions Representation of agricultural implement manufacturer in merger transaction valued in excess of 60 million dollars. Representation of consolidated group of agricultural implement dealers in a series of acquisitions valued in excess of 35 million dollars. Representation of industrial gas retail and processing entity in a series of acquisitions valued in excess of 20 million dollars. Representation of industrial gas retail and processing entity as seller in asset acquisition valued in excess of 45 million dollars. Representation of shareholders in an environmental technology company in divestiture transaction valued in excess of 15 million dollars. Alternative Dispute Resolution Experience Service on panel concerning dispute between global Agri-chemical companies regarding entitlement to injunctive relief and damages in excess of $500,0000 in relation to genetically modified seed agreements. Presiding arbitrator in dispute seeking damages in excess of $300,000 and injunctive relief in respect to alleged violations of covenant not to compete in a franchise setting. Presiding arbitrator in various arbitrations regarding crop insurance disputes. Chair of arbitration panel concerning a multi-million dollar dispute among cattle feed yard investors. Service on arbitration panel concerning dispute between investors in the preeminent quarter horse stallion in the nation in which damages exceeded one million dollars. Successful multi-million dollar arbitration in favor of regional general construction contractor seeking additional compensation for disruption, constructive acceleration, and scope changes in the contract.
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONSAmerican Bar Association – Litigation, Business and Antitrust Sections American Bar Association Foundation Kansas Bar Association Corporation, Business, and Banking Section - Past President Litigation Section Agricultural Law Section Past Member, Board of Editors, Journal of the Kansas Bar Association American Agricultural Law Association Past Member, Board of Directors, Kansas Bar Foundation
PUBLICATIONS AND SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTSPublications Shepherding a Business Sale, 85 AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION JOURNAL Rights, Obligation and Liabilities of Promoters, Stockholders, Officers, Directors, and Successor Corporations, KANSAS CORPORATION LAW AND PRACTICE, 4th ed. The Kansas Venue Statute: Where Does a Cause of Action Arise? 64 JOURNAL OF THE KANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION, no. 6, p. 20 When Professionals Collide - Lawyers' Responses to Auditors' Requests, 61 JOURNAL OF THE KANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION, no. 2, p. 27 The Auditor Cometh, THE COMPLEAT LAWYER, no. 3, p. 18 Private Financing for Small Businesses, 58 JOURNAL OF THE KANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION, no. 9, p. 15 Equipment Leases Under the Uniform Commercial Code, 57 JOURNAL OF THE KANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION, no. 1, p. 27 Speaking Engagements Antitrust Compliance, NATIONAL CROP INSURANCE SERVICES, 2013 – 2020 Anatomy of a Crop Insurance Dispute, NATIONAL CROP INSURANCE SERVICES, 2015, 2017, 2019 Crop and Livestock Insurance Law, AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION, 2012 An Introduction to Acquiring or Selling the Privately Held Company, KANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION Revised Article 9, KANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING Negotiating and Drafting Business Acquisition Agreements, KANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION CORPORATION LAW VIDEOCAST SEMINAR Executive Compensation Strategies and Business Succession, KANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION ESTATE PLANNING SEMINAR Structuring Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, KANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION Kansas Corporation Law, KANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION, WASHINGTON, D.C. BAR ASSOCIATION (via satellite) Third Party Legal Opinions, KANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION, BUSINESS LAW INSTITUTE Franchise Law for the Franchisee Lawyer, AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION MEETING, ATLANTA
AWARDS AND HONORSFellow of the Litigation Counsel of America Who's Who in American Law Missouri - Kansas Super Lawyer
BAR ADMISSIONSKansas Colorado 10th Circuit Court of Appeals United States District Court for the District of Kansas