Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Jury Returns $370 Million Verdict Against Guess Co-Founder
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury yesterday awarded nearly $370 million in damages against Guess? Inc. co-founder Georges Marciano for claims of defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress by several former employees, attorneys involved in the matter have announced.
Lancaster attorney R. Rex Parris, who represented two of the employees, called the verdict “one of the largest…ever handed down in Los Angeles County,” in a release.
In August 2007, Marciano brought a lawsuit against his former employee, Joseph Fahs, alleging Fahs had embezzled millions of dollars in funds and stolen artwork, wines and other property from him.
He amended his complaint in February 2008 to include four additional former employees: Miriam Choi, Camille Abat, Steven Chapnick and Elizabeth Tagle.
The employees separately cross-complained, alleging Marciano committed defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Marciano’s complaint was dismissed Dec. 31, 2008.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White, in a bench trial in May, found Marciano liable for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress against each cross-complainant, and that he had committed those acts with malice, oppression and/or fraud, and set a jury trial on damages for July 20.
Parris announced yesterday that the jury had found Marciano liable to each of five cross-complainants for approximately $69 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages for a total of about $74 million each.
“This verdict shows that being rich does not mean you have the power to ruin the lives of other people on a whim or suspicion,” Parris said.
Miriam Choi and Camille Abat were represented by R. Rex Parris and Alexander R. Wheeler of The R. Rex Parris Law Firm. Joseph Fahs was represented by The Law Offices of Alain Bonavida. Steven Chapnick was represented by Cozen O’Connor. Elizabeth Tagle was represented by The Diaz Law Firm.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company