COURT DISMISSES $59 MILLION IN CLAIMS AGAINST FORTUNE 500 CLIENT
In a $59 million contract dispute, Del Miller, Al Van Kampen and David Crowe obtained dismissal of all claims asserted against their Fortune 500 client. The plaintiffs, a commercial developer and his eleven entities, asserted numerous causes of action including breach of contract, tortious interference, breach of fiduciary duty and unfair business practices. All claims were dismissed on summary judgment, and the ruling was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit. The client’s General Counsel recently commented that this “lawsuit had the capacity to be a very large exposure for the Company and your firm’s handling of it was steadfast and intelligent.”
BANKRUPTCY COURT MAKES IMPORTANT DECISION ON LOAN DISCHARGEABILITY
Judge Karen Overstreet of the United States Bankruptcy Court in Seattle recently granted summary judgment in favor of our client in an adversary proceeding that set new rules on the dischargeability of student loans. See In re Corbin, 506 B.R. 287 (Bankr. W.D. Wash. 2014). The court found that when an accommodation co-signor for a student loan is forced to repay the loan the co-signor’s claim against the primary debtor is non-dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(8)(A)(ii). David Crowe handled the case.
AIRCRAFT CASE RESULTS IN JUDGMENT FOR $6.076 MILLION The firm's client was granted a judgment totaling $6,076,025 from the Seattle federal district court in a breach of contract case concerning two aircraft owned by foreign companies. The judgment also dismissed a multimillion dollar counterclaim filed by one of the foreign companies. The court judgment was entered after 2½ years of litigation and arbitration proceedings. An arbitration panel previously ruled in favor of our client after a 6-day evidentiary hearing. Following judgment, our firm was able to collect the entire judgment, plus attorney fees and interest through execution proceedings. Al Van Kampen represented the firm's client.
APPELLATE COURT REVERSES ORDER VACATING JUDGMENT OBTAINED IN TEXAS
In one of David Crowe's cases, the Washington Court of Appeals reversed a King County trial court’s order vacating a judgment in favor of our Texas clients that was obtained in Texas and domesticated in Washington under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act. Brown v. Garrett, 175 Wash. App. 357 (2013). The Washington defendants elected not to defend against the suit brought in Texas, later arguing to the Washington trial court that the Texas court did not have jurisdiction over them. Although the trial court agreed with defendants and vacated the Texas judgment, the appellate court reversed and held that the Texas state court did have jurisdiction because defendants offered goods for sale in Texas.
CLIENT AWARDED JUDGMENT OF $1.18 MILLION ON SECURITIES CLAIM
A King County Superior Court judge recently entered a judgment in favor of our client for $1,181,059 in a case concerning Rule 144 stock. The court found that the defendants had wrongly delayed the client from selling his restricted securities before the stock price declined. Al Van Kampen handled the case.
$20 MILLION SETTLEMENT ON DESIGN PATENT AND COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT CLAIMS
Now-retired partner Robert Rohde recently achieved a $20 million settlement for client Pacific Coast Marine Windshields Limited (“PCMW”) in its lawsuit against Malibu Boats for infringement of its design patent and copyrights. PCMW owns a design patent (Patent No. D555,070) and copyrights on an innovative marine windshield design. The 5-piece design is distinctive for its frameless appearance tapered corner posts. For years, Malibu used the design, over PCMW’s objection, on the majority of its product line.
PCMW filed its lawsuit against Malibu, and multiple other defendants, in the Middle District of Florida. The case involved novel issues in design patent law including inventorship, patent prosecution and the proper calculation of damages.
On a motion for summary judgment, defendants initially prevailed with its argument that PCMW’s claims were barred by the equitable doctrine of prosecution history estoppel. PCMW, however, successfully appealed the order to the Federal Circuit, which reversed and remanded the case for trial. Pacific Coast Marine Windshields Ltd. v. Malibu Boats, LLC, 739 F.3d 694 (Fed. Cir. 2014).
On remand, PCMW prevailed on key issues concerning damages and inventorship. On inventorship, PCMW defeated defendants’ argument that they had a shop right license on the design patent precluding any damages award. With respect to design patent damages, PCMW’s position was that under Section 289 of the Patent Act, and the Federal Circuit opinions interpreting that section, PCMW was entitled to the disgorgement of Malibu’s profits from the sales of the entire boats to which accused windshield design had been applied. Malibu argued that any damages award needed to be limited to just the profits of the windshield under a theory of apportionment. The court ruled in PCMW’s favor, holding that PCMW was entitled to the disgorgement of all profits Malibu earned from the sale of any boat to which the infringing windshield design had been applied. Pacific Coast Marine Windshields Ltd. v. Malibu Boats, LLC, 2014 WL 4185297 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 22, 2014). The case settled for $20 million soon thereafter.
Before the case settled, our firm achieved many key victories for PCMW. For instance, PCMW successfully moved to exclude from trial the defendants’ key witness and evidence on the issue of inventorship after a forensic analysis of that witness’s computer hard drive proved that the witness had utilized a wiping program the day before he turned over his hard drive for examination. Pacific Coast Marine Windshields Ltd. v. Malibu Boats, LLC, 2012 WL 10817204 (M.D. Fla. Nov. 30, 2012). PCMW was awarded its attorney fees related to that motion. In addition, PCMW successfully moved to exclude defendants’ expert witness from offering his opinions on design patent infringement.
There are no guaranteed outcomes in the law. Every case is different, and the results obtained will depend upon the specific facts and circumstances of a client's situation.