Sleeper v. Lilley et al. Media Statement (from sworn testimony) Lawsuits must be based on factual evidence. The jury in this case heard very

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1 ! 1 Sleeper v. Lilley et al. Media Statement (from sworn testimony) Lawsuits must be based on factual evidence. The jury in this case heard very emotional testimony from Mr. and Mrs. Sleeper ( Sleepers ) on how they lost their farm and their seed business because of the actions of their seed purchaser, Agway Corporation; six years later they then said the reason was because Daniel G. Lilley Law firm ( Lilley) did not present the case properly before the Judge at the Arbitration hearing and they should have gotten more money. So they sued Lilley. Lilley commenced representing the Sleepers by filing a lawsuit in US District Court in Bangor, Maine the fall of 2002 based on the facts represented by the Sleepers and their personal retired attorney, Peggy Parker, Sleepers friend and sometimes lawyer. Their original story was compelling and they appeared to be very sympathetic victims. They initially told the Lilley office that Agway wrongfully held back payments for seed potatoes and Agway had a monopoly on the sale a purchase of seed potatoes in Aroostook County; that the Agway executives were pocketing tens of millions of dollars in profits and were putting potato farmers out of business. Lilley took the case on a contingent fee percentage and paid all the out of pocket costs. The Lilley firm only got paid legal fees if his firms won the case the higher the recovery for the Sleepers the higher the fee for the firm so Lilley had financial incentive to

2 ! 2 maximize the award the Sleepers got. He also was raised in Aroostook County and has a fondness for those folks as he did for the Sleepers (Half his law office staff comes from the county.). As the case progressed, depositions were taken and witness interviewed and documents examined. The result was that the original story could not be supported by most of the evidence that unfolded. Indeed, the story they first told was simply not factually correct more fiction then fact. Unfortunately, and compounding the challenge for Lilley, Agway went out of business and filed for Bankruptcy in 2002 shortly after the suit was filed which hurt the case. They were declared bankrupt and no longer exist. Nevertheless, despite these setbacks, Lilley went forward and presented the most favorable evidence available at a 3 day arbitration hearing in New York in Lilley won that hearing and the Sleepers were awarded $102,000 against Agway (Lilley got them an additional $26,000 when they came into the case in 2002 and did not charge them a fee). The Agway Bankruptcy factually destroyed the claim that Agway was earning millions cornering the seed market and it affected the collectability of the award which ultimately was partially paid in accordance with the Bankruptcy Court s reduced dollar amount for all creditors.

3 ! 3 The Sleepers, ostensibly pleased with the way the Lilley firm handled the administrative hearing, wanted Lilley to continue to represent them and file an appeal claiming fraud in the administrative judge s decision to the 1 st Cir. court of Appeals for a low money award and if necessary to the US Supreme Court. They wanted more money. Lilley did not believe there was any merit in going further with the case and declined to represent them further. Six years later after they lost in the 1 st Cir Court of appeal and their petition to the US Supreme Court, the Sleepers sued Lilley claiming for the first time that Lilley did not represent their case properly. Mary Sleeper testified tearfully that they lost their farm because of Agway and Lilley did not prove it. There was no evidence to support that claim. In fact the evidence showed that at the time of the hearing in 2005 the Sleepers still owned the farm, were current on their mortgage payments, and had over $800,000 equity in the farm. Evidence also showed that Agway continued to buy and sell seed to the Sleepers for as long as they wanted. Moreover in 2000, Mr. Dewitt of Farm Family Credit testified contrary to the Sleepers, that the Sleepers could get financing for farming if they choose to or they could get out of farming. The Sleepers told him they wanted to get out of farming; they choose to get out of farming since they had never made a profit with seed potatoes from the time they bought the farm from Sleeper s

4 ! 4 father, Rodney Sleeper, in Lilley could not prove that Rodney Sleeper ever made a profit selling seed in the entire decade of the 1990s (he refused to produce his tax returns). The Sleepers choose to stop planting seed in 2000 at which time Vaughn Sleeper was quoted under oath that he would rather jump in a barrel of piranhas then farm potatoes in Aroostook County. There was no evidence that the farm was sold at any loss whatsoever or that the Sleepers seed business ever made money. In fact the Sleepers borrowed over $100,000 to purchase and fix up a beer tavern in Island Falls. That tavern too failed. Mrs. Sleeper blamed it on the closing of a local business where they got most of their customers. Mrs. Sleeper tearfully testified, without any supporting appraisals, or evidence of any kind, that the Sleeper farm they had purchased in 1998 for $300,000 was worth between $1M and $2M. The trial was held in Portland and ran over the holidays. Six of the nine jurors returned a $1.1 Christmas verdict for the Sleepers. Lilley is filing a Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict motion with the court to dismiss the entire case for lack of evidence. His position is that the Sleepers actually won their case; but they now blame the Lilley law firm because they were not awarded

5 ! 5 more money. They made the choice to get out of potato farming, which has been on the decline in Aroostook County for 20 years; they must take responsibility for their own choices. The Sleepers fist blamed Agway, then the Administrative Judge, then Lilley for their misfortunes. They must be held accountable for their own decisions.

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