National Jury Consultancy Celebrates Victory in Six-Month Trial
LOS ANGELES (May 19, 2014) – DecisionQuest, the three-time New York Law Journal “Best Jury Consultant” honoree, was a key advisor in a historic antitrust case that concluded on March 27, 2014 when a jury in New Jersey awarded $20 million in compensatory damages to the Tacoma, Wash.-based Continuant Inc., an aftermarket maintenance service provider.
In Avaya Inc. v. Telecom Labs Inc. et al., case number 1:06-cv-02490, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, an eight-member jury ruled in favor of Continuant Inc., a third-party OEM-independent voice and data systems maintenance provider, and against telecommunications giant Avaya Inc. The jury deliberated for only four days to reach its verdict after a six-month trial in federal court.
The case is of significant historic interest because it is the first instance of an aftercare maintenance service provider winning a verdict in an antitrust case since the 1992 Eastman Kodak litigation.
Avaya first brought a massive unfair competition lawsuit against Telecom Labs Inc. and Continuant (‘TLI/C”) in 2006, alleging a litany of claims, including misappropriation of trade secrets, violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, violation of the Lanham Act, trade libel, tortious interference with contractual relations and prospective economic advantage, among others. However, following the Court’s dismissal of Avaya’s entire case upon TLI/C’s motion at the close of Avaya’s trial proofs and TLI/C’s lengthy prosecution of counterclaims alleging violation of the United States antitrust laws, a jury in New Jersey federal district court returned a verdict in favor of TLI/C. It concluded that Avaya in fact violated such laws in attempting to enforce a monopoly in the aftermarket for maintenance of certain enterprise-level Avaya telecommunications equipment.
By law, the damages will be trebled to $60 million pursuant to antitrust law. Avaya is also liable for attorney fees, which, along with interest penalties, could bring the total judgment to $100 million.
“DecisionQuest was absolutely integral to the trial team’s success, both in terms of defending against Avaya’s massive complaint and in prosecuting our substantial antitrust counterclaims,” said Anthony La Rocco of K&L Gates in Newark, Continuant’s counsel in the case.
“The DQ team quickly developed a very firm grasp of a massive amount of particularly complex information and greatly assisted the trial team in breaking it all down into simple terms for the jury—a process that is critical to success in any complex litigation,” added La Rocco. “The DQ team helped immeasurably at every step of the way, starting with pre-trial preparation all the way through closing arguments. Our clients would not be enjoying this extraordinary victory today without the support of the DecisionQuest team.”
DecisionQuest Vice Presidents Marygrace Schaeffer and Paul H. Jepsen, both based in the firm’s Minneapolis, Minnesota office, were DecisionQuest’s key players in the case. With nearly 50 years of combined trial consulting experience, Schaeffer and Jepsen were able to assist their client and the K&L Gates trial team with nonpareil research and strategy. DecisionQuest has been retained on antitrust disputes in 185 cases in 32 states.
“It is immensely gratifying to play a part in the resolution of this significant case on behalf of Continuant Inc.,” said Dr. Philip K. Anthony, CEO of DecisionQuest. “The lasting effect of this verdict, supporting competition in the marketplace, will stretch well beyond the telecommunications industry and third-party maintenance providers. This victory is also a testament to the value of focused jury consulting, and its impact in ensuring that jurors can clearly understand complex fact patterns in order to reach the appropriate decisions.”
For further information contact Samantha Kruse at SKruse@levick.com, 202.973.5313, or Robert Gemmill at RGemmill@levick.com, 202.973.1315.
DecisionQuest is the nation’s leading trial consulting firm, assisting clients through the expert use of the art of persuasion. With more than 100 employees in nine offices across the country, DecisionQuest provides clients with unparalleled scope and knowledge of multiple venues throughout the United States. For over 30 years, DecisionQuest principals have been retained in more than 18,000 high-risk trials and negotiations nationwide. DecisionQuest’s core capabilities include testing and developing case strategies; witness evaluation and preparation; community attitude survey analysis; jury selection; strategic demonstrative exhibit design and production; and trial presentation assistance. For more information, visit www.decisionquest.com.