Miami Jury Awards $31.2 Million Verdict In High Tech Commercial Litigation Case

May 15, 2000 / 7:14 am

MIAMI (May 15, 2000) — The law firm of Colson Hicks Eidson today announced that a jury before U.S. Federal District Judge Alan Gold awarded SIRIT Technologies Inc., a $31.2 million verdict against Able Telcom Holding Corp. (Able)—whose largest shareholder is MCI WorldCom, Inc.

After a five-week trial dealing with complex commercial litigation, the jury found in favor of SIRIT Technologies and against Able Telcom for breach of contract, fraud and intentional interference of business relationship. The bulk of the verdict, $30 million, was for punitive damages against Able Telcom.

The lawsuit concerned the fraudulent actions of Able and its agent, Thomas M. Davidson, which were designed to interfere with SIRIT’s negotiations with MCI WorldCom for the purchase of MFS Network Technologies, Inc. (MFSNT).

“Able and its agent, under false pretenses, obtained confidential information during discussions with SIRIT and misused that information to steal a transaction from SIRIT that was worth millions of dollars,” said Roberto Martínez, partner at Colson Hicks Eidson and co-counsel for SIRIT Technologies.

Davidson, in his capacity as an agent of Able Telcom, fraudulently gained confidential information from SIRIT regarding the deal pending between SIRIT and MCI WorldCom to purchase MCI’s wholly owned company, MFSNT.

On April 15, 1998—prior to closing the deal—MCI WorldCom cut off all communications with SIRIT and agreed to sell MFSNT to Able. Able announced its acquisition of MFSNT from MCI WorldCom on April 27, 1998.

The jury agreed that Able employed fraudulent means to interfere with SIRIT’s acquisition and that Able violated the confidentiality agreement signed by the two companies.

Not only was the case complex in nature, but the trial also involved innovative use of technology, including video depositions on CD as well as the presentation of thousands of pages of documents by computer projection, which were used to facilitate and expedite the case before the jury.

The jury also found that Thomas M. Davidson had committed fraud and intentional interference of SIRIT’s business relationship, and awarded punitive damages of $1.3 million against him.

SIRIT Technologies Inc. is a Canadian business—with offices in Toronto and Dallas, Texas—that provides wireless, e-commerce payment solutions and identification systems in the transportation industry using radio frequency technology.

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