Venable LLP has won a complete defense verdict in a lawsuit alleging breach of fiduciary duty and fraud against a hospitality company and its CEO. The plaintiff alleged that he was entitled to a 42.5 percent ownership interest in a company that owned the California resort Glen Ivy Hot Springs.
After a nine-week trial in California Superior Court, the plaintiff asked the jury to award $25 million plus punitive damages. Instead they returned a complete defense verdict and awarded no damages to the plaintiff.
The case also included a noteworthy example of juror misconduct. During the trial, one juror contacted the plaintiff’s attorney by email nine times, offering comments on the evidence, witnesses, and trial testimony. The plaintiff’s attorney did not reveal this contact until the third day of jury deliberations, when the plaintiff’s attorney requested a mistrial. The judge rejected the mistrial request. The juror was excused and an alternate was brought in. The jury began its deliberations anew.