Orange County Jury Awards $6.5 Million for Tortious Interference Claim
Trial lawyer Mark S. Adams wins verdict for client Scott C. Moody Inc. against Staar Surgical Company
COSTA MESA, Calif.- December 2, 2009 – Trial lawyer Mark S. Adams, a partner with Jeffer Mangels Butler & Marmaro LLP, and his team won a verdict yesterday for Scott C. Moody Inc. (“SMI”), in a 6 week jury trial in Orange County Superior Court. Plaintiff SMI will recover $6.5 million, including $2.5 million in punitive damages, from STAAR Surgical Company (“STAAR”). Members of Adams’s litigation team included lawyers Eudeen Y. Chang and Monica Q. Vu, of Jeffer Mangels Butler & Marmaro LLP, and co-counsel Isaac R. Zfaty of Davis Zfaty APC.
SMI was a former authorized independent sales company for STAAR. STAAR manufactures and sells specialized lenses for surgical vision correction, such as replacement lenses for the eye’s natural crystalline lens in cataract surgery. SMI prevailed against STAAR for intentional and negligent interference with SMI’s prospective economic advantage to sell the products of one of STAAR’s competitors.
“This is a well-deserved result for SMI, whose business was decimated by STAAR,” said Mark Adams. “It is always an honor to represent a client who will not back down from having its day in court.”
Using his own marketing strategies, his own independent sales subcontractors and his own customer lists, Scott Moody, principal of SMI, generated sales of over $60 million for STAAR and was paid on a commission basis. When SMI and STAAR failed to negotiate a new contract in August 2007, STAAR launched a campaign designed to prevent SMI from working with any of STAAR’s competitors. STAAR tortiously interfered with SMI’s opportunity to sell Bausch & Lomb lenses by asserting an unenforceable non-compete provision, and then attempted to hire away all of SMI’s sales force. The jury took less than a day in deliberations to find in favor of SMI and against STAAR.
“The recession has seen many businesses resort to illegal ‘unfair business practices’ which increasingly can only be rectified or compensated by litigation,” said Adams, who predicted more such cases will be filed in 2010. Earlier this year, in another tortious interference case, Adams and his team won a jury verdict of $4.9 million, including $2.7 million in punitive damages for plaintiff Parallax Medical Systems, Inc.
Adams represents a broad range of businesses, including manufacturers, distributors, financial institutions, developers, and retailers, both domestically and abroad. His litigation practice focuses on contracts, products liability, corporate and partnership disputes, and employment litigation.
About Jeffer Mangels Butler & Marmaro LLP
Jeffer Mangels Butler & Marmaro LLP is a full-service law firm committed to providing clients with outstanding results. From our offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orange County, we serve our clients’ needs worldwide. The Firm’s Orange County office is active in the areas of litigation, real estate, workouts, corporate transactions, taxation, and trusts and estates. For more information about our attorneys and practice areas, visit www.JMBM.com.