Court Rejects Safeguard’s Bid to Overturn a $6 Million Jury Verdict
By Mulcahy LLP on March 24, 2017
BOISE, IDAHO (March 24, 2017) -- On Friday, an Idaho Court denied Safeguard Business Systems, Inc.’s post-trial motion seeking to reverse a $6 million jury verdict in favor of its Idaho distributor.
In December 2016, an Idaho jury found in favor of Roger Thurston and against Safeguard in the amount of $6 million – including punitive damages of $4.4 million. Following a four week trial, the jury found that Safeguard had repeatedly violated Thurston’s contractual right to protected customers and engaged in subsequent, outrageous conduct in an attempt to conceal its violations.
Shortly after the jury verdict was converted to a judgment, Safeguard filed a post-trial motion seeking to eliminate nearly all of the damages assessed by the jury, and argued that the evidence did not establish that it had acted with an “extremely harmful state of mind” in breaching the distributorship agreement. The Court disagreed.
It found that the evidence supported the jury verdict that “Safeguard concealed the information in order [to] coerce or dupe Thurston – its own long-time distributor – to sell its protected accounts well below their market value.” The Court also found clear and convincing evidence that Safeguard attempted to avoid the consequences of its “breach my means of concealment, oppression, intimidation, or despotism.”
Thurston’s attorneys from the Southern California firm of Mulcahy LLP already have secured an August 2016 arbitration win over Safeguard in the amount of $4.3 million on behalf of another distributor. Safeguard is represented by Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.
Mulcahy LLP’s motion for additional attorneys’ fees and costs in excess of $2.4 million is currently pending before the Court.
Click on the .pdf below to view the Court's full ruling denying Safeguard's post-trial motion.
-- Mulcahy LLP is a boutique litigation firm that provides legal services to franchisors, manufacturers and other companies in the areas of antitrust, trademark, copyright, trade secret, unfair competition, franchise, and distribution laws.