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CONTRACTS Jury finds FedEx liable for failure to fully deliver Federal Express Corp. was hit with a $789,000 breach of contract verdict by a federal jury on Dec. 5, 2003. In late 1997, Phoenician Imports Inc. of South Miami, Fla., entered into an oral contract with the shipping company to deliver Phoenician’s holiday catalogs directly to its customers in South America, via FedEx, within seven to 11 days of FedEx taking possession of the mailings. Phoenician claimed that more than 100,000 customers never got the literature or got it after the holidays because FedEx handed the catalogs over to the Venezuelan postal authority for delivery, and did so in an untimely fashion. FedEx countered that it wasn’t required to deliver the literature directly to Phoenician’s customers, and that there was no guarantee of delivery by a certain date. Phoenician based its lost profits on $6.21 in additional sales per advertising dollar. Phoenician Imports Inc. v. Federal Express Corp., No. 99-CV-600 (S.D. Fla.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Steven Katzman, Craig Rubinstein and Alexandra Sierra-DeVarona, Katzman, Wasserman & Bennardini, Boca Raton, Fla DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Mark J. Dearman, Dearman & Gerson, Plantation, Fla; Timothy A. Ginn, Federal Express legal department, Memphis, Tenn. CORPORATIONS Cash, stock for founder cheated of sale proceeds More than $42 million in cash and stock was awarded by an arbitration panel to the co-founder of a day-trading firm who alleged that his partners cheated him. ProTrader was acquired for $150 million by Instinet Group just hours after plaintiff Russell Grigsby had redeemed his roughly 20% stake based on his estimate of the company’s value at $35 million. Grigsby alleged that his partners lied to him about the impending acquisition so that he would sell cheaply. The defense contended that Grigsby had sold his stake a year earlier via a binding letter of intent, and that he was fully aware of talks between ProTrader and Instinet. The arbitration panel found the ex-partners and several ProTrader entities liable, but found no wrongdoing by Instinet, which was also named. The decision was delivered on Jan. 16. Grigsby v. ProTrader Group Management, No. GN103243 (Travis Co., Texas, Dist. Ct.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEYS: Ben C. Broocks, Stacy Allen, Daniel Scardino and Lawrence A. Waks, Jackson Walker, Austin, Texas; Mikal C. Watts and Martin J. Siegel, Watts Law Firm, Corpus Christi, Texas; Douglas A. Allison and John B. Martinez, Law Offices of Douglas Allison DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Kim E. Brightwell, Beverly G. Reeves and Paul Schlaud, Reeves & Brightwell, Austin, Texas; Wallace M. Smith, Craig Douglas and Lee Rigby, Smith, Robertson, Elliot & Glen, Austin; Eric Taube, Hohmann, Taube & Summers, Austin INSURANCE Claim-suppression plan gets Travelers in trouble Three insurance companies were slapped with a total of $12 million in punitive damages and $60,000 in compensatory damages by a federal jury on Jan. 16 after denying an $8,000 workers’ compensation claim for carpal tunnel syndrome. During discovery, attorneys for former nursing home cook Alice Torres, 57, uncovered an incentive program at Hartford, Conn.-based Travelers Insurance Co. in which the carrier offered its employees up to 100% of their salaries in bonuses for reducing the overall payout of insurance claims from one year to the next. Travelers Insurance denied that such a program existed and maintained, along with co-defendants Constitution State Services of Hartford, and Insurance Co. of the State of Pennsylvania of Philadelphia, that the underlying claim was bogus, and that the carpal tunnel syndrome was not work-related. Travelers was hit with $8.5 million of the punitives. Torres v. Travelers Insurance Company, No. 01-5056 (D.S.D.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Michael Abourezk, Abourezk Law Firm, Rapid City, S.D.; Glenn Johnson, Johnson Eisland, Rapid City DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Patricia A. Meyers, Costello Porter Hill Heisterkamp Bushnell & Carpenter, Rapid City MOLD Texas school district settles toxic mold action The prime contractor on the construction of a high school where mold was subsequently found decided during jury selection to pay a Texas school district $16 million to settle its claims. The Edinburg, Texas, district sued the Austin, Texas-based Landmark Organization and its 19 subcontractors for breach of a 1998 contract to build at Economedes High School, blaming the mold on poor ventilation and faulty construction. Remediation was completed last summer at a cost of $16 million. The Landmark accord was reached on Dec. 17, 2003. Settlements with the other parties came to another $4.37 million. Edinburg Consol. Indep. School Dist. v. Landmark Organization L.P., No. C-1093-02-1 (Hidalgo Co., Texas, Dist. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Anthony F. Constant, Pruett Moore III and Filemon B. Vela Jr., Constant & Vela, Corpus Christi, Texas; Rene Ramirez, Pharr, Texas DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: John Pipkin, Johnson, Ferguson, Pipkin & Phillips, Houston; Wilkes Alexander, Fisks & Filder, Dallas; John M. Curney Jr., Curney, Garcia, Farmer, Pickering & House, San Antonio; Christiana Dijkman, Phillips & Akers, Houston; Robert L. Guerra, Thornton, Summers, Biechlin, Dunham & Brown, McAllen, Texas; Albert M. Gutierrez, Alvarez, Notzon & Gutierrez, San Antonio; Gilberto Hinojosa, Magallanes & Hinojosa, Brownsville, Texas; Patrick R. Kasperitis, Dunn, Weathered, Coffey, Rivera & Kasperitis, Corpus Christi, Texas; Scott Lyford, Mills Shirley, San Antonio; Charles Lyman, Giessel, Barker & Lyman, Houston; Craig A. Nevelow, Wright & Greenhill, Austin, Texas; Lino Ochoa and Susan Sullivan, Griffith, Sullivan, Ochoa & Garza, McAllen; Robert Perez, Shelton & Valadez, San Antonio; Mike Pipkin, Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold, Dallas; Robert Puente, Willette & Guerra, McAllen; Ricardo R. Reyna, Brock & Person, San Antonio; Richard Schellhammer, Goins, Underkofler, Crawford & Langdon, Dallas; Michael Zanca, Roerig, Oliveira & Fisher, McAllen POLICE Baltimore liable for cop’s shooting of unarmed man The family of a 28-year-old man who was shot and killed by a Baltimore police officer was awarded $105 million by a Maryland jury on Jan. 9. Officer Rodney Price saw Tristan Little reaching into the back of his car. Price, who was in full uniform, began approaching Little when he saw Little turn toward him with what he thought was a gun in his hand. Little continued toward Price even after Price drew his gun. Price opened fire, emptying one magazine into Little’s body. He then reloaded, stood over Little, and fired four more rounds into his him, for a total of 21 shots. Price claimed he was justified in his use of force because he believed Little was committing a crime and had a weapon. Estate of Little v. Price, No. 24-c-02-000997 (Baltimore city, Md., Cir. Ct.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEYS: A. Dwight Pettit and Mitchell D. Treger, Law Office of A. Dwight Pettit, Baltimore; Anton Ianele, Baltimore; Domenic R. Ianele, Baltimore DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Troy A. Priest, Baltimore WORKPLACE Railroad worker gets$1.3 million under FELA A switchman-trainee who sustained neck and back injuries when the locomotive in which he was riding in struck another locomotive was awarded $1,507,000 in damages by a Louisiana judge on Jan. 7, reduced to $1,280,950 for his percentage of fault. Brandon Williams, 25, sued the city of New Orleans under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act, claiming that the conductor and engineer had fallen asleep while operating the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad locomotive. Williams claimed his neck and back injuries and a cervical fusion resulted in 10% whole-body impairment and forced him to quit his job. The parties stipulated that Williams was 15% at fault because he should have maintained a proper lookout. Williams v. City of New Orleans, 2000-11384 (Orleans Parish, La., Dist. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Art Sadin, Provost & Umphrey Law Firm, Friendswood, Texas; James Dugan, Gauthier, Downing, LaBarre, Dean & Sulzer, Metairie, La.; James Williams, Houghtaiing & Williams, Metairie DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Lawrence Ernst and Greg LaCour, Christovich & Kearney, New Orleans More information about these cases, as well as full reports on other verdicts and settlements, can be found in the VerdictSearch National Reporter or at www.VerdictSearch.com. To submit a case, call (212)313-9057, fax (212)313-9145 or use the form at www.VerdictSearch.com/submit. For subscription information or jury verdict research, call (800)832-1900.

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