Charlotte, N.C. – Parker Poe Business Litigation teams recently secured two significant victories for clients in the North Carolina Business Court. Through a vigorous defense, the litigators won summary judgment in both cases, with judges dismissing the claims against the firm’s clients in their entirety.
In Veer Right Management Group v. Czarnowski Display Service, Veer Right alleged it lost a trade show contract with the U.S. Postal Service because of a conspiracy between Czarnowski and a former employee of Veer Right. The plaintiff also claimed that Czarnowski stole its trade secrets.
“The facts show that the U.S. Postal Service decided to rebid the contract not based on anything our client did but based on its own internal decision-making,” says Raleigh partner Melanie Dubis, who leads Parker Poe’s Business Litigation team. Charlotte partner Jami Jackson Farris also helped defend Czarnowski with co-counsel Michael Tecson of the Hogan Marren firm in Chicago.
On January 24, Special Superior Court Judge for Complex Business Cases Adam Conrad dismissed the plaintiff’s claims. In his ruling, Judge Conrad wrote that “the record is conspicuously silent” as to what information the defendants took. He went on to say that the plaintiff “has not offered evidence, sufficient to create a genuine issue of fact, that any of defendants’ actions proximately caused Veer Right’s alleged damages or that defendants misappropriated trade secrets.”
Another Parker Poe team led by William Rikard, in close collaboration with Gwendolyn Prothro Renigar and her team from Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, D.C., brought a 15-year case to resolution by summary judgment in Loftin v. QA Investments. Peter Loftin brought claims against several defendants related to two tax investments that resulted in Loftin owing money to the IRS. The case started in 2003 and after other defendants settled, QA Investments and Quellos Group were the only remaining defendants. Even though they were not involved in one of the investments, the plaintiff claimed they were liable for losses associated with both and sought recovery of more than $107 million in damages.
“We built a detailed case showing the plaintiff has not produced documents or other evidence demonstrating that our clients caused any of the damages,” says Charlotte partner Jamie Lesnett, another team member along with partners Sarah Hutchins and Annette Ebright in the Charlotte office.
Chief Business Court Judge James Gale ruled on February 1 that the plaintiff “failed to diligently conduct discovery” and “failed to forecast evidence demonstrating that he is entitled to recover damages” from the defendants. The chief judge dismissed the entire case before depositions had been taken, a significant result that saved the firm’s clients continuing legal costs and uncertainty.
“In both cases, our teams focused on the element of causation and proved that the plaintiffs could not meet their evidentiary burden,” says Melanie Dubis, the Business Litigation team leader. “These are important victories for our clients, and they demonstrate our team’s ability to craft a winning strategy to resolve complex business cases with steep potential damages.”
About Parker Poe
Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP has more than 200 lawyers in seven offices located in major markets across North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The firm provides legal counsel to some of the largest companies and local governments in the region.
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