Christopher R. O'Hara and Edward F. Foye won a $1.77M jury verdict ($2.45M with pre-judgment interest) for an ophthalmology practice consulting firm and its principals.
Mr. O'Hara and Mr. Foye successfully represented Plaintiffs Ophnet, Inc., a Massachusetts corporation, as well as its principals, John Hirsch and Ronald Zolla who are ophthalmology practice consultants. In 1995, Ophnet, Hirsch and Zolla agreed to manage a Florida doctor's practice in return for, among other things, a steeply discounted hourly consulting fee and a percentage of the practice's profits. During their business relationship, the parties also agreed to construct and operate an ambulatory surgery center in Florida. During the seven year period that the plaintiff provided consulting services to the medical practice, the practice revenues more than doubled and the physician's income nearly tripled. The business relationship between the parties ended in 2002, leading to myriad claims and counterclaims by the parties.
After approximately a three week trial in Essex Superior Court in Newburyport involving, among other things, claims for breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, the jury found that various defendants breached contractual and common law obligations. The jury determined that the various defendants attempted to reduce plaintiffs' portion of incentive payments by falsely understating profits and that certain defendants failed to make required capital contributions to the ambulatory surgery center. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiffs on their contract claims of $1,082,178, compensatory fraud damages of $125,000 (which the court considered duplicative of a portion of the contract damages), punitive fraud damages under Florida law of $100,000, compensatory breach of fiduciary damages relating to the surgery center of $191,000, and punitive fiduciary breach damages of $400,000 for a total jury award in plaintiffs' favor of $1,773,187 (approximately $2.45M with interest). The jury valued the defendants' redemption interest in the ambulatory surgery center at only $200,000.
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