SUPPLEMENTAL VERDICT DIGEST
ADDITIONAL VERDICTS OF INTEREST Employment Law
$506,000 VERDICT - GENDER DISCRIMINATION - RETALIATORY DISCHARGE - PLAINTIFFS CLAIM THAT DEFENDANT SUPERVISOR AND EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATED AGAINST THE PLAINTIFFS AND RETALIATED AGAINST THEM FOR COMPLAINING ABOUT THE DISCRIMINATION - FAILURE TO PROMOTE QUALIFIED PLAINTIFF OVER LESS QUALIFIED MALE CANDIDATE - DEMOTION - ASSIGNMENT OF DUTIES LESS THAN THOSE ASSIGNED TO MALE EMPLOYEES - FAILURE TO GIVE SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITIES.
Suffolk County, MA
The plaintiffs, who worked for the defendant district court probation office, one as an assistant chief probation officer and the other as a probation officer, contended that the defendants, a chief probation officer and the court for which he worked, discriminated against the plaintiffs on the basis of gender and race. The plaintiffs and three other female employees had previously filed a written complaint against the defendant chief and the probation office for racial and gender discrimination and retaliation. A six month investigation into the charges by the trial court’s Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Office resulted in a draft report substantially admitting the allegations made by the plaintiffs.
The jury found no discrimination against the first plain- tiff, but did find retaliation against her and awarded her $6,000 in damages, as well as $500,000 in puni- tive damages. No discrimination or retaliation was found against the second plaintiff and the jury awarded her no damages.
Brown, et al. vs. O’Brien, et al. Case no. SUCV2007- 03552, 02-09-11.
Attorney for plaintiff: Beth R. Myers of Rogers, Powers & Schwartz LLP in Boston, MA.
$7,120,000 VERDICT - FRAUD - SHIPPING COMPANY IS SUED BY SHIPPING PARTNER FOR FRAUDULENT INDUCEMENT.
Dallas County, TX
This multi-million dollar case saw the successful suit of a global shipping firm by one of its resellers. The reseller received over $7 million in a verdict for fraudulent inducement and theft of trade secrets. The jury additionally rejected the defendant’s $28 million in counterclaims. Worldwide Express Operations is a domestic reseller of shipping services based in Dallas. Worldwide Express, the plaintiff in this case, had been in a nine-year contract since 1999 with the defendant, DHL Express, acting as a sales force for the defendant shipping company. The contract was amended in the fall of 2008 to add an additional two years to that contract. However, the contract also involved the addition of a termination clause. Said clause would allow DHL to terminate the contract with only 90 days notice. On November 10, 2008, less than 30 days after the signing, DHL announced that it was terminating its domestic shipping service and its contract with Worldwide Express.
Worldwide Express filed suit in the 192nd District Court of Dallas County for fraudulent inducement, naming DHL as the defendant. DHL was accused of defraud- ing Worldwide Express by way of inducing them to sign a contract for services they would have no fur-
ther use for. Worldwide Express further accused DHL of theft of trade secrets, specifically through solicitation the plaintiff’s international customers.
On June 2, 2011, after nine trial days and a day and a-half of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff, finding that Worldwide Express had been induced to amend their contract by way of fraud. The jury awarded $5.1 million for past and future lost profits, as well as $2.02 million in damages for DHL’s misappropriation of trade secrets. The jury further re- jected DHL’s request for $28 million in damages for breach of payment guarantee.
Worldwide Express Operations LLC, et al. vs. DHL Ex- press (USA) Inc. Case no. DC-08-15314; Judge Craig Smith, 06-02-11.
Attorney for plaintiff: Geoffrey S. Harper, Steve Stodghill, Timothy Devlin, Scott C. Thomas, and John C.C. Sanders of Fish & Richardson in Dallas, TX. Attorney for plaintiff DHL Express (USA) Inc.: Michael H. Collins of Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP in Dallas, TX. Attorney for defendant Worldwide Express Operations LLC: Tom Melsheimer of Fish & Richardson in Dallas, TX.
Volume 28, Issue 9, September 2011