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Professionals

Crystal M. Patterson

Counsel

P 502-562-7215 F 502-589-0309

500 West Jefferson Street
Suite 2800
Louisville, KY 40202

 

Crystal Patterson is a member of the Firm's Trusts, Estates & Personal Planning Service Team and the Litigation & Dispute Resolution Service Team.  Ms. Patterson advises individuals and entities involved in fiduciary and complex business litigation disputes, including will and trust contests, business break-ups, and ERISA litigation.  Ms. Patterson's fiduciary dispute practice entails representing individuals and entities who are involved in disputes concerning the execution, interpretation and administration of estate plans and trusts.  She has also successfully sought and defeated petitions for appointment guardians and conservators. In business litigation, Ms. Patterson regularly counsels and represents businesses of all sizes (from publicly traded corporations to closely held family businesses) and their executives before, during and after litigation ensues.  She takes special care to understand the client’s business strategy and goals in developing successful but cost-effective litigation plans with her clients.  Ms. Patterson has extensive experience litigating and trying cases covering a broad range of subject matter: from breach of contract to business valuation disputes, and product liability to business torts.

Crystal M. Patterson

Location

500 West Jefferson Street
Suite 2800
Louisville, KY 40202

Representative Matters

  • In the context of a protracted, contested guardianship and conservatorship proceeding, represented an incapacitated individual over the course of several years to resolve a myriad of issues concerning financial management, identity of the substitute decision-makers and visitation rights.
  • Successfully defended at trial a widow alleged to have unduly influenced her deceased husband into amending his estate plan to increase the share of assets passing to the widow upon her husband’s death.
  • Negotiated a favorable settlement on behalf of a charitable organization whose bequest in an estate plan was eliminated by an end-of-life estate plan amendment that was executed at a time when the testator likely lacked testamentary capacity and favored an unlikely recipient of the testator’s bounty.
  • Obtained a favorable arbitration award for a publicly-traded corporation that was sued for breach of contract for damages in excess of $10,000,000.
  • Successfully defended a publicly traded corporation against a claim by one of its former directors for compensation in excess of $1,000,000. The former director alleged that he had entered into a contract with the board of directors for the compensation. The board denied the existence of the contract. After a three-day bench trial, the court awarded the former director $5,000.
  • Represented several individuals who were sued by their business partners/co-owners over a parcel of real estate. The co-owners alleged that they had acquired a certain percentage of ownership interest in the real estate through their contribution to its purchase price and performance of “sweat equity.” After a three-day arbitration, the arbitration panel awarded the co-owners half of the percentage interest they originally sought.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of a self-funded benefit plan, governed by ERISA, which denied health benefits to a plan participant because he had been engaged in a crime at the time he incurred the injuries for which he sought benefits and coverage for such injuries was excluded by the Plan document. The trial court agreed with the Plan’s interpretation of the Plan document, thereby affirming the denial of benefits and dismissing the plan participant’s claims.

Professional Experience

  • Gulfstream Commercial Services, Inc., General Counsel
  • Before joining Wyatt, Ms. Patterson was with the law firm Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., based in its Minneapolis office.
  • Registered Nurse (inactive, good standing).

Honors

  • Benchmark Litigation, Future Star, 2009
  • The Business Journal, 40 Under Forty, 2008
  • Order of the Coif, Member

Education

2000 - J.D., University of North Dakota
1997 - B.S., Nursing, North Dakota State University

Presentations

  • “The Use and Abuse of Exculpatory Clauses,” American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section Spring Symposia, April 2015
  • "Grandma, Here's Your Deposition Subpoena: Contested Guardianship Issues," 49th Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, January 2015
  • “Preparing and Trying an Undue Influence Case,” American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section eCLE, June 2014
  • “The Clash Between Estate Planning and Family Law: When ‘Til Death Do Us Part’ Becomes ‘Til Divorce Do Us Part,’” American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section eCLE, March 2013
  • “The Clash Between Estate Planning and Family Law: When ‘Til Death Do Us Part’ Becomes ‘Til Divorce Do Us Part,’” American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section Spring Symposium, May 2012
  • “Fiduciary Litigation,” Minnesota Estate Administration Deskbook, March 2012 and 2013 Update
  • “What To Do When the Client Slips the Leash: Real World Trust Litigation and Ethics As You Hope You’ll Never Have to See Them,” American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section eCLE, July 2010
  • “What To Do When the Client Slips the Leash: Real World Trust Litigation and Ethics As You Hope You’ll Never Have to See Them,” American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section Spring Symposium, May 2010
  • “Trust and Estate Litigation: You can’t take it with you but maybe you should!!!”, Minnesota State Bar Association Probate and Trust Law Section, November 2009
  • “Financial Exploitation of the Elderly,” Minnesota CLE, May and January 2009
  • “Marketing to New and Existing Clients,” Minnesota Women Lawyers Association, November 2008
  • “Contests, Compromises and the Spousal Elective Share,” Minnesota Estate Administration Deskbook, February 2007
  • “Contests and Compromises,” Probate Solutions - How to Get an “A”, March 2007

Publications

  • “Do You Think We Have Time: A Journey Through My Ancestry, One Shaky Leaf at a Time,” Owensboro Living (April/May 2015)
  • “Fiduciary Litigation,” Minnesota Estate Administration Deskbook, March 28, 2012 and 2013 Update
  • “Troublesome Trustee Self-Dealing: Case Study Shows Costs of Bad Behavior of Untrustworthy Trustees,” Estate Planning, February 2011
  • “Banning Benefits for Bad Behavior: Unraveling the Illegal Act Exclusion,” Probate & Property, a Publication of the Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section of the ABA, May/June 2009
  • “Mentoring is a Two-Way Street: There are Benefits for Both Sides,” Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal (July 2006)
  • “The Not So Slippery Slope: The Eighth Circuit Determines that Employer-Paid Airfare is Not ‘Wages’ Subject to Withholding Taxes,” 53 Monthly Digest of Tax Articles 12 (October 2002)
  • “The Not So Slippery Slope: The Eighth Circuit Determines that Employer-Paid Airfare is Not ‘Wages’ Subject to Withholding Taxes,” 77 North Dakota Law Review 433 (2001)
  • “North Dakota Adopts the Restatement’s ‘Scope of Employment’ Test and Explores the Phenomenon of ‘Transference,’” 75 North Dakota Law Review 137 (1999)

Professional Activities and Memberships

  • American Bar Association - Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Section, and Litigation, Ethics & Malpractice Group, Member (2006-present); Probate and Fiduciary Litigation Committee, Vice Chair (2012-2014), Chair (2014-present)
  • Association of Corporate Counsel, Kentucky Chapter - Board of Directors (2017)
  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • Hennepin County Bar Association - Bench and Bar Committee, Former Member
  • Minnesota State Bar Association - Probate and Trust Law Section, Former Member

Admissions

  • Kentucky
  • North Dakota
  • Minnesota
  • United States Tax Court

Civic Involvement

  • Green River Area Community Foundation, Board of Directors (2017)
  • Salolampi Foundation, Regional Director (2017)
  • RiverPark Center, Director (2014-present) and Secretary of the Board of Directors (2016-present)
  • Maximilian Montessori Academy Parent-Teacher Organization, Co-President (2015-present)
  • Minnesota Justice Foundation, Director and Board Development Committee (2005-2010)
  • University of St. Thomas School of Law, Volunteer Mentor (2004-2010)
  • American Red Cross, Disaster Services Human Resources Volunteer (2011-present)
  • Girl Scouts of the USA, Daisy Troop Leader, Brownie Troop Leader (2011-present)

Representative Matters

  • In the context of a protracted, contested guardianship and conservatorship proceeding, represented an incapacitated individual over the course of several years to resolve a myriad of issues concerning financial management, identity of the substitute decision-makers and visitation rights.
  • Successfully defended at trial a widow alleged to have unduly influenced her deceased husband into amending his estate plan to increase the share of assets passing to the widow upon her husband’s death.
  • Negotiated a favorable settlement on behalf of a charitable organization whose bequest in an estate plan was eliminated by an end-of-life estate plan amendment that was executed at a time when the testator likely lacked testamentary capacity and favored an unlikely recipient of the testator’s bounty.
  • Obtained a favorable arbitration award for a publicly-traded corporation that was sued for breach of contract for damages in excess of $10,000,000.
  • Successfully defended a publicly traded corporation against a claim by one of its former directors for compensation in excess of $1,000,000. The former director alleged that he had entered into a contract with the board of directors for the compensation. The board denied the existence of the contract. After a three-day bench trial, the court awarded the former director $5,000.
  • Represented several individuals who were sued by their business partners/co-owners over a parcel of real estate. The co-owners alleged that they had acquired a certain percentage of ownership interest in the real estate through their contribution to its purchase price and performance of “sweat equity.” After a three-day arbitration, the arbitration panel awarded the co-owners half of the percentage interest they originally sought.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of a self-funded benefit plan, governed by ERISA, which denied health benefits to a plan participant because he had been engaged in a crime at the time he incurred the injuries for which he sought benefits and coverage for such injuries was excluded by the Plan document. The trial court agreed with the Plan’s interpretation of the Plan document, thereby affirming the denial of benefits and dismissing the plan participant’s claims.

Professional Experience

  • Gulfstream Commercial Services, Inc., General Counsel
  • Before joining Wyatt, Ms. Patterson was with the law firm Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., based in its Minneapolis office.
  • Registered Nurse (inactive, good standing).

Honors

  • Benchmark Litigation, Future Star, 2009
  • The Business Journal, 40 Under Forty, 2008
  • Order of the Coif, Member

Education

2000 - J.D., University of North Dakota
1997 - B.S., Nursing, North Dakota State University

Presentations

  • “The Use and Abuse of Exculpatory Clauses,” American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section Spring Symposia, April 2015
  • "Grandma, Here's Your Deposition Subpoena: Contested Guardianship Issues," 49th Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, January 2015
  • “Preparing and Trying an Undue Influence Case,” American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section eCLE, June 2014
  • “The Clash Between Estate Planning and Family Law: When ‘Til Death Do Us Part’ Becomes ‘Til Divorce Do Us Part,’” American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section eCLE, March 2013
  • “The Clash Between Estate Planning and Family Law: When ‘Til Death Do Us Part’ Becomes ‘Til Divorce Do Us Part,’” American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section Spring Symposium, May 2012
  • “Fiduciary Litigation,” Minnesota Estate Administration Deskbook, March 2012 and 2013 Update
  • “What To Do When the Client Slips the Leash: Real World Trust Litigation and Ethics As You Hope You’ll Never Have to See Them,” American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section eCLE, July 2010
  • “What To Do When the Client Slips the Leash: Real World Trust Litigation and Ethics As You Hope You’ll Never Have to See Them,” American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section Spring Symposium, May 2010
  • “Trust and Estate Litigation: You can’t take it with you but maybe you should!!!”, Minnesota State Bar Association Probate and Trust Law Section, November 2009
  • “Financial Exploitation of the Elderly,” Minnesota CLE, May and January 2009
  • “Marketing to New and Existing Clients,” Minnesota Women Lawyers Association, November 2008
  • “Contests, Compromises and the Spousal Elective Share,” Minnesota Estate Administration Deskbook, February 2007
  • “Contests and Compromises,” Probate Solutions - How to Get an “A”, March 2007

Publications

  • “Do You Think We Have Time: A Journey Through My Ancestry, One Shaky Leaf at a Time,” Owensboro Living (April/May 2015)
  • “Fiduciary Litigation,” Minnesota Estate Administration Deskbook, March 28, 2012 and 2013 Update
  • “Troublesome Trustee Self-Dealing: Case Study Shows Costs of Bad Behavior of Untrustworthy Trustees,” Estate Planning, February 2011
  • “Banning Benefits for Bad Behavior: Unraveling the Illegal Act Exclusion,” Probate & Property, a Publication of the Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section of the ABA, May/June 2009
  • “Mentoring is a Two-Way Street: There are Benefits for Both Sides,” Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal (July 2006)
  • “The Not So Slippery Slope: The Eighth Circuit Determines that Employer-Paid Airfare is Not ‘Wages’ Subject to Withholding Taxes,” 53 Monthly Digest of Tax Articles 12 (October 2002)
  • “The Not So Slippery Slope: The Eighth Circuit Determines that Employer-Paid Airfare is Not ‘Wages’ Subject to Withholding Taxes,” 77 North Dakota Law Review 433 (2001)
  • “North Dakota Adopts the Restatement’s ‘Scope of Employment’ Test and Explores the Phenomenon of ‘Transference,’” 75 North Dakota Law Review 137 (1999)

Professional Activities and Memberships

  • American Bar Association - Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Section, and Litigation, Ethics & Malpractice Group, Member (2006-present); Probate and Fiduciary Litigation Committee, Vice Chair (2012-2014), Chair (2014-present)
  • Association of Corporate Counsel, Kentucky Chapter - Board of Directors (2017)
  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • Hennepin County Bar Association - Bench and Bar Committee, Former Member
  • Minnesota State Bar Association - Probate and Trust Law Section, Former Member

Admissions

  • Kentucky
  • North Dakota
  • Minnesota
  • United States Tax Court

Civic Involvement

  • Green River Area Community Foundation, Board of Directors (2017)
  • Salolampi Foundation, Regional Director (2017)
  • RiverPark Center, Director (2014-present) and Secretary of the Board of Directors (2016-present)
  • Maximilian Montessori Academy Parent-Teacher Organization, Co-President (2015-present)
  • Minnesota Justice Foundation, Director and Board Development Committee (2005-2010)
  • University of St. Thomas School of Law, Volunteer Mentor (2004-2010)
  • American Red Cross, Disaster Services Human Resources Volunteer (2011-present)
  • Girl Scouts of the USA, Daisy Troop Leader, Brownie Troop Leader (2011-present)
Crystal M. Patterson