Case Conclusion Date: February 15, 2002
Practice Area: Partnership
Outcome: Defense verdict on all counts but one, $9K verdict
Description: While the parties and disposition in this case are a matter of public record and the case was reported in Jury Verdicts, I find it in better taste not to identify my client or his opponent at this time. I can verify most of the case specifics upon reasonable request. This case involved over a dozen allegations of breach of partnership agreement, unjust enrichment, breach of fiduciary duty and other similar counts arising out of a dispute between a drywall contractor and its alienated, terminated chief salesman. At issue was whether the salesman was or should have been a "partner" [sic] in the closely-held corporation. The jury found for the defendant company on all counts but one. After testimony regarding (inter alia) the costs of the plaintiff's expert witness, The jury awarded a de minimis compromise award of $9,000.00 to the plaintiff on the last count on the complaint: a "conversion" count in a case not involving a tangible asset to "convert." That verdict happens to be below the current jury trial jurisdictional claim limit in Maryland and probably was then (though I have not verified this for 2003.) Since the suit was for half of the value of the business, allegedly hundreds of thousands of dollars per plaintiff's discredited expert forensic witness, it's probably fair to characterize the case as a near-total defense win. Defendants did not appeal; plaintiff appealed but ultimately dismissed his appeal. The trial took five full days. As a personal aside, it was my longest jury trial, my best net jury verdict in my judgment and a matter of great pride as I conducted the trial despite a very severe case of bronchitis in a cold, damp Maryland February, affecting my voice more and more as the week dragged on. Perhaps the kindest compliment came from my opposing counsel, who offered me a job in his firm on the courthouse steps an hour and a half after the verdict.