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Defendant Didn’t Care But Jury Did: C&B Wins $1.0 Million Jury Verdict in Complex Litigation Case

In this matter, Daniel J. Callahan and David J. Darnell represented a publishing services company based out of Huntington Beach which was forced to sue a Virginia advertising agency after it refused to pay its bill. After four days of trial, the jury awarded all of our requested damages, as well as attorney’s fees and costs.

The parties to this action had a written contract under which the defendant agreed to pay for ads that were placed in phone books nationwide. Following the placement and running of these ads, the defendant refused to pay. Thus, in 2010, Callahan & Blaine filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California for breach of contract seeking $731,450 in damages. In response, the defendant counter-sued by claiming Callahan & Blaine’s client had breached the contract and also engaged in fraud and negligent misrepresentation during the course of the parties’ business relationship.

Discovery, in this case, was particularly helpful at trial. For example, at deposition, Mr. Darnell elicited testimony from defendant’s owner wherein he admitted that he had been paid in full by his own clients for the ads in question, but decided to just pocket the money and not pay the plaintiff. In fact, when pressed on the issue at deposition, in a moment akin to Jack Nicholson admitting he ordered the “Code Red,” defendants’ owner blurted out that he just “didn’t care, didn’t care, didn’t care a bit!”

As you can imagine, Mr. Callahan and Mr. Darnell repeatedly played this videotaped testimony at trial before the jury at every opportunity. And in the end, while the defendant didn’t care a bit about paying his bill, the jury apparently did care, and quite a bit.

On May 27, 2011, the jury returned a unanimous $731,450 verdict for Callahan & Blaine’s client. At the same time, they rejected the defendant’s counterclaims in their entirety. In addition, Callahan & Blaine’s client was awarded attorney’s fees, expert fees and costs in the amount of $324,407, resulting in a total judgment of $1,055,857.

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