Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Jury Verdict

Richmond, Virginia (January 29, 2018): The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a jury verdict secured by Donovan & Rainie, LLC following oral argument before Judges Keenan, Niemeyer and Traxler.

Following a jury trial in favor of its client Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company, Defendants filed an appeal questioning whether the district court committed errors of law by (i) dismissing a claim for breach of contract; (ii) finding that the corporate Defendant had not established damages sufficient to allow its tortious interference counterclaim to proceed to the jury; and (iii) denying a motion for judgment as a matter of law, dismissing certain contract and fraud claims, before they were sent to the jury. Defendants also questioned whether the district court abused its discretion when it (i) provided over objection special jury instructions and verdict sheets; (ii) denied a Motion in Limine to exclude or limit expert testimony; and (iii) allowed a judgment for unjust enrichment where the jury made no finding of fraud, and certain obligations and performance were specified in an express written contract.

The appeals court upheld the lower court’s verdict in all respects. The appeals court determined that none of the errors charged to the district court warranted reversal, and that based on the evidence presented, the jury was justified in concluding, as a factual matter, that two of three Defendants were unjustly enriched. The appeals court also determined that the district court correctly concluded that Defendant failed to present sufficient evidence of damages in connection with its tortious interference counterclaim, and that the Plaintiff was entitled, by the terms of the agreement between the parties, to accelerate repayment of the loan, as it did.

The court’s opinion can be found here: Fourth Circuit – 2018-1-29

Donovan & Rainie Secures Jury Verdict in Federal District Court

Baltimore, Maryland (December 16, 2017): Today the lawyers at Donovan & Rainie, LLC secured jury verdict in favor of its client, Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company, following a four-day trial presided over by United States District Judge J. Frederick Motz. The counterclaims asserted by the Defendants were dismissed by the Court based on a motion to dismiss following the presentation of the evidence.

The matter arose out of a half million-dollar development loan agreement with the Defendants, which loan was called and not repaid. The jury verdict, based on breach of contract and unjust enrichment theories, was for the full amount of the loan at issue.

The counterclaims asserted by the Defendants alleging breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and tortious interference with contract and prospective advantage were dismissed by Judge Motz.

Donovan & Rainie Successfully Defends $7million Wrongful Termination Claim

Baltimore, Maryland (August 18 2015): The attorneys at Donovan & Rainie, LLC successfully defended a broker-dealer against a seven million dollar wrongful termination claim made by a former research analyst. Following a nine day hearing on the merits, a panel of FINRA arbitrators denied all of the claims asserted by the former employee, including her claims for punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and costs. In addition to her $7 million compensatory damage claim, the former employee sought to recover legal fees in the amount of $347,355, costs in the amount of $155,910.74 and unspecified punitive damages.

The former employee alleged that she was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for having complained to her supervisors and others about violations of certain securities laws, rules and regulations of self-regulatory agencies and firm policies. The broker-dealer asserted that the employment relationship was terminated as part of an overall reduction in the firm’s work force.

A copy of the arbitrator’s award may be obtained here.

USDC Dismisses Defamation Claim on Summary Judgment Motion

Baltimore, Maryland (August 22, 2013): The United States District Court for the District of Maryland today granted Defendant Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company’s Motion for Summary Judgment, dismissing a pro se plaintiff’s defamation claim. The Court held that Defendant was “entitled to summary judgment because there is no genuine issue of material fact, Defendant is protected by a conditional privilege and Plaintiff has failed to establish claims of defamation and libel per quod.” The Defendant is represented by Donovan & Rainie, LLC.

The Court found that the Plaintiff, who was an independent insurance agent, failed to satisfy the elements required to succeed in a defamation suit. The Court stated that the alleged defamatory statement, which was made to the Plaintiff’s customer, was not facially defamatory and the Plaintiff failed to provide extrinsic evidence demonstrating the statement’s defamatory nature. The customer who received the letter did not believe the statement to be defamatory, continued to do business with the Plaintiff, and referred at least one person to Plaintiff’s business. Importantly, the Plaintiff was, when pressed in his deposition, unable to support any of his damage calculations, having relied on dissimilar examples of verdicts obtained through the internet site

A copy of the Court’s opinion may be obtained here and also viewed on Westlaw at 2013 WL 4506271