Mississippi Court Upholds Ruling Reversing Jury Verdict and Fee Award Against Champion
Monday, September 20, 2004
HUNTINGTON, W.Va., Sept. 17 -- Champion Industries, Inc. was advised on September 16, 2004 that the Supreme Court of Mississippi has upheld the Court of Appeals of the State of Mississippi's February 3, 2004 reversal of a judgment and jury verdict rendered February 16, 2002 against the Company in a civil action brought in state court in Jackson, Mississippi and its remand of the case for new trial. The plaintiff in this civil action had asserted that the Company and its Dallas Printing Company, Inc. subsidiary had engaged in unfair competition and other wrongful acts in hiring certain of its employees. The jury awarded the plaintiff $1,745,000 in actual damages and $750,000 in punitive damages. On March 1, 2002, the plaintiff in the civil action filed a motion for attorney's fees and costs in the amount of $889,401. On July 16, 2002, the court entered an order granting plaintiff $645,119 in attorney fees and expenses, and ordered that interest on the amount of the jury award accrue from February 22, 2002. The Company appealed both the jury award and the attorney fee and expense award. The Court of Appeals of the State of Mississippi reversed the judgment and jury verdict and remanded the case for new trial on February 3, 2004, and denied plaintiff's petition for rehearing of that decision on June 22, 2004. On July 6, 2004, Plaintiff filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the Mississippi Supreme Court to contest the appeals court ruling. The Company filed its response to such petition on July 27, 2004. The effect of the appeals court orders of February 3, 2004 and June 22, 2004 and the Mississippi Supreme Court's denial of plaintiff's petition for certiorari is to negate the trial court's award of damages and attorney's fees previously granted against the Company, and grant a new trial on plaintiff's claims.