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Largest Jury Verdicts In Virginia for 2010 Include Employment-Related Claims

Published by on January 10, 2011

Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly has its annual report of the largest jury verdicts in the state here.  The top 22 verdicts include two employment-related claims, although the list does not include any civil rights or wage claims.  The #1 verdict involved theft of trade secrets.  The #4 verdict involved employment-related business torts such as breach of fiduciary duty, breach […]

Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly has its annual report of the largest jury verdicts in the state here.  The top 22 verdicts include two employment-related claims, although the list does not include any civil rights or wage claims.  The #1 verdict involved theft of trade secrets.  The #4 verdict involved employment-related business torts such as breach of fiduciary duty, breach of nondisclosure and nonsolicitation agreements, tortious interference with contract, violation of the Virginia Business Conspiracy Act (§18.2-499), and violation of the Virginia Uniform Trade Secrets Act.  More after the break.

VLW reports on the #1 largest jury verdict in Virginia for 2010 as follows:

$26 million

In Re: Outsidewall Tire Litigation

Type of Case: Copyright and trademark infringement, theft of trade secrets

Court: U.S. District Court, Alexandria

Attorneys: August J. Matteis Jr., Washington

Summary: Jordan Fishman and his companies – Tire Engineering & Distribution LLC and Alpha Tire Systems – alleged that their former top salesman, a Chinese tire manufacturer and a tire distributor from Dubai conspired to steal their trade secrets and infringed on their copyrights and trademarks involving underground mining tires. Fishman had stepped into the niche created when such major tire manufacturers as Michelin and Goodyear abandoned the underground tire market. A Chinese manufacturer made the tires that Fishman’s companies designed and distributed for $3,500 to $6,000 apiece. He contended the salesman tried to get the manufacturer to deal directly with customers and cut him out. The salesman went to another Chinese company, Shandong Linglong Rubber Co. Ltd., when the manufacturer refused to do so and brought in the Dubai distributor, Al Dobowi Ltd., as part of the alleged scheme. The defendants contended the court lacked jurisdiction over them and argued that the trademarks and copyrights were invalid and that what the plaintiffs alleged were trade secrets and confidential information were in the public domain. The case is on appeal to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

VLW reports on the #4 largest jury verdict in Virginia for 2010 as follows:

$14.12 million

Perot Systems Government Services Inc. v.

21st Century Systems Inc., et al.

Type of Case: Business torts

Court: Fairfax County Circuit Court

Attorneys: Michael E. Barnsback, Alexandria; Kevin

Perra and Brendan O’Rourke, New York

Summary: Perot Systems Government Services Inc. alleged that two former employees took confidential electronic information with them when they joined two employees of 21st Century Systems Inc. in 21st Century’s newly formed government contracting division. A jury found for Perot Systems on 10 counts, including breach of fiduciary duty, breach of nondisclosure and nonsolicitation agreements, tortious interference with contract, violation of the Virginia Business Conspiracy Act (§18.2-499), and violation of the Virginia Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Some of the awards were duplicative. The most significant verdict – a $4.1 million – was for was conspiracy to damage Perot Systems’ business. Under state law, the award was trebled to $12.3 million. Once the duplicative awards were considered, total judgment of $14.12 million was entered on the verdicts. Perot Systems also was awarded more than $1.3 million in attorneys’ fees. The defendants filed counterclaims, and the jury awarded each of the individual defendants $51,000 and 21st Century $229,000 on a defamation count. A notice of appeal has been filed with the Supreme Court of Virginia.

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