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Jury Awards $15 Million In Discriminatory Contract Termination Lawsuit

Published by on May 20, 2008

A federal jury in the Eastern District of Virginia has awarded plaintiff Worldwide Network Services, LLC $15 million in a lawsuit against DynCorp International.  The award included $5 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.  DynCorp prevailed on one counterclaim, recovering $175,000.  Press coverage of the verdict can be found here and here.  (An […]

A federal jury in the Eastern District of Virginia has awarded plaintiff Worldwide Network Services, LLC $15 million in a lawsuit against DynCorp International.  The award included $5 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.  DynCorp prevailed on one counterclaim, recovering $175,000.  Press coverage of the verdict can be found here and here.  (An updated story dated Nov. 21, 2008, can be found here.)

WWN’s claims included breach of contract and discrimination in connection with Dyncorp’s termination of the contract between the parties.  WWN was a minority-owned subcontractor.  After DynCorp chose not to renew the contract with WWN, it replaced WWN with a non-minority owned subcontractor.  That subcontractor then hired away many of WWN’s employees (and became a defendant in the case as well).

The Washington Post recaps the critical evidence regarding discrimination as follows:

“In October 2006, one of DynCorp’s top executives hosted a company party. It was a few months after the relationship between DynCorp and WWNS had soured, and WWNS was collapsing. At the party, a mocking letter purporting to be from the black president of WWNS was read in Ebonics, according to the order. Also, a T-shirt was distributed with the imprint “I brought down WWNS and all I got was this lousy T-shirt,” according to the order.”

A copy of Judge Lee’s order denying DynCorp’s motion for summary judgment can be found here.  The forty page order contains analysis of a number of common business tort claims in Virginia, including civil conspiracy, tortious interference with contract and defamation.  It also analyzes a claim that WWN did not preserve relevant evidence (concluding that the evidence in question was not, in fact, relevant).  The jury verdict form can be found here.

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