Champion Appeals Jury Verdict and Fee Award in Civil Action
Thursday, July 18, 2002
HUNTINGTON, W.Va., July 17 -- Champion Industries, Inc. today filed notice of appeal from a jury verdict rendered February 16, 2002 against the Company in a civil action brought in state court in Jackson, Mississippi. The appeal involves both the jury award and the attorneys fee and expense award. The plaintiffs in this civil action 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 plaintiffs $1,745,000 in actual damages and $750,000 in punitive damages. The Company has been advised that it has no insurance coverage for this award. The Company under Mississippi law has a guaranteed right to appeal. The Company has been advised by counsel that it has multiple grounds for an appeal and a reasonable basis for believing that an appeal would be successful in eliminating the jury award. However, there can be no assurance that the jury award will be overturned upon appeal. If the verdict is not overturned, the impact on the operating results of the Company could be material. On March 1, 2002 the plaintiffs 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. If the Company is not successful on appeal, Mississippi law provides that it is liable for an additional 15% of the total award.