Irvine, California – After a ten-day-trial with two former employees alleging wrongful termination and emotional distress damages of $1 million, an Orange County jury unanimously favors the defense awarding the former employees with an amount of $0.00. In front of Honorable Richard Luesebrink at Orange County Superior Court (Case No: 30-2008-00106109)the case involved allegations of breach of contract, fraud in inducement, breach of implied covenant, defamation, termination in violation of public policy (whistleblowing), negligence and misrepresentation.
Douglas J. Pettibone of The Law Office of Douglas J. Pettibone represented Defendants Soaptronic, LLC, (now known as Germstar) a hand-sanitation company along with the president of the company Horst Binderbauer.
“The truth will prevail,” Pettibone says, “My clients did what they had to do for the best interest of the company. They did nothing wrong.”
Duncan Campbell Webb of The Law Office of Duncan Campbell Webb represented Plaintiffs John Lehman and James Tullio, former sales employees who alleged the wrongful termination.
The former employees, Lehman and Tullio worked at the company for 14 months. They were terminated by Binderbauer based upon reasons he contends were because of the harsh economic times and lack of performance. On the other side, Lehman and Tullio alleged that they were terminated because they had complained of the fire safety issues at the company. The Defendants also contended that their employee contract was at-will, while the Plaintiffs alleged that their contract was for a three-year term. The jury went with the defense.
Lehman and Tullio claimed lost earnings of over $600,000 each including $1 million for emotional distress injuries. They received nothing. The trial’s witnesses consisted of former and current employees, Soaptronic’s CPA, Plaintiff’s expert witness (also a CPA), a fire inspector, and the Plaintiffs and Defendants themselves.
In Pettibone’s closing remarks he says to the jury, “If you give me the message, I’ll let the public know. The message is that, ‘We’re tired. Tired of an overburdened court system using tax payer money to take a chance on a hitting the lotto, tired of false exaggerated claims and tired of Larry Parker ads.”
In the end the jury gives Pettibone the message he wanted. They found no wrong doing of Soaptronic and Binderbauer. With seven causes of action the jury agreed with the defense giving them a 12-0 verdict. So the message is out – you give an Orange County jury a case like this, they give you zero.