05/05/15

Third time’s the charm - at least the EDVA hopes.  Having twice been reversed in ruling for the defendants, this case was back before the EDVA for a trial on “remedies” on the plaintiff’s successful breach of fiduciary duty claim.  The case involved the sale of a medical practice.  The plaintiff, a doctor who had recently been removed from the medical practice, had hired a firm as a broker/consultant to purchase the medical practice for him, without disclosing his identity as the true buyer.  After learning some of the details surrounding the plaintiff’s departure, however, the defendants severed ties with the plaintiff and ended up purchasing the practice directly.  Because the suit was before the court on remand on the limited issue of remedies, the court did not analyze the underlying claims, but did summarize the facts (which, while sufficient to support the plaintiff’s claims, established the plaintiff’s unclean hands in failing to disclose information to the defendants about the cause of his departure).  Although the plaintiff sought millions of dollars in damages, the court ultimately awarded him $156,000, and refused to convey the medical practice to the doctor based on his unclean hands.  The damages award reflects the court’s rejection of each theory of damage asserted by the plaintiff with respect to the value of the business, his claimed loss of income, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.  It is an interesting case for damages and appears to be an equitable result.

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