U.S. Courts Award Corporate Fraud Victims 27 Times Compensatory Damages

Provides interesting examples of recent court judgments to help consumers understand their legal rights and how to follow through in the event they are victims of corporate fraud or malfeasence.

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(PRWEB) October 16, 2003

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact:

Kim T. Sanders, Managing Partner

PHAEDEAUX, LLC

Phone: 262-965-4832

Fax: 262-965-4823

sanders@phaedeaux.com

http://www.phaedeaux.com

U.S. Courts Award Corporate Fraud Victims 27 Times Compensatory Damages

Skokie, IL (PRWEB) October 28, 2003 — Whether committed by a giant U.S. corporation or an international corporation doing business in America, victims of corporate fraud and racketeering sustain devastating economic losses but hesitate to seek a legal remedy. Many investors, small companies and other victims are afraid to challenge the formidable corporate opponent having vast financial, political and legal resources. Most of the victims do not have the funds to withstand a protracted and expensive litigation. Others do not believe in the American judicial system, which may render unpredictable results.

Any domestic or foreign company may bring a corporate or consumer fraud action in the United States against an American or international corporation doing business in America to pursue justice under the U.S. legal system. Corporate fraud cases include securities (alleged in Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, Quest, Adelphia or ImClone schemes), pension fund, fiduciary (violation of a fiduciary duty established by the total financial control over the investor’s funds) and consumer fraud matters. Corporations violating their own published policies and contractual terms, setting up phony charges for consumers, hiding their actual intentions, data and schemes, fixing prices with competitors and misstating the facts to lure the parties into transactions are committing corporate fraud. For example:

•    Hidden gas charges to owners of mineral rights to gas wells

•    Stock brokerage firm’s deceit of investors by verbally representing that it offered commission free trading

•    Manufacturer’s failure to recall and properly design side air bags causing burn injuries;

•    Universal life insurance policies risks were not adequately disclosed at the time of their sales

The U.S. laws facilitate significantly larger awards than most countries in the world. The brave souls who decided to seek justice in the U.S. courts have received substantial awards sometimes exceeding threefold and even 27 times their compensatory damages.

The Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (“RICO”) Act’s civil provisions (only the government may prosecute under the Act’s criminal provisions) allow private parties to recover triple damages, attorney’s fees, and costs against any person or company participating in the criminal enterprise affecting interstate or foreign commerce through a pattern of racketeering activity. This anti-mafia statute has been used in many corporate fraud cases such as:

•    $58,394,000 to Austrian investor- RICO, fraud, conversion of $2 million by the CIA operatives- award exceeds 29 times the lost investment

•    $8,100,000 to Russian small company- RICO, fraud, conversion of $300,000 by the CIA operatives - award exceeds 27 times the lost investment

•    $131, 800,000 to Bank of China- RICO, fraud violations by 14 defendants

•    $33,100,000 to fiber optics firm- International dispute, trade secret misappropriation, RICO, fraud, civil theft (trebled damages under Florida law) by competitors

•    $1,708,000 to borrowers – Fraud, Consumer Protection Act violation by a payday loan company for exorbitant finance charges in excess of 1,000%

•    $1.186 billion for fraud by the State Farm Insurance Company in 1999, contending that the inferior generic parts used for repairs were as good or better than the original manufacturer’s parts.    

One of the prevalent categories of corporate fraud is fraud on the corporation’s clients or consumers. In consumer fraud cases, the victims of the same corporation’s wrongful conduct join together for class action suits, which are used when a suit by one victim is financially unprofitable in view of the litigation costs exceeding that victim’s potential recovery. Just one victim may represent (be named as a party in a suit and go through a discovery process) the whole class (of at least 20 members). Examples of recent judgments in consumer fraud cases are:

•    $45 million to U.S. farmers for the manufacturer’s different brand charges for the same herbicide

•    $135.8 million –manufacturer’s false claim of a preservative to treat wooden products against rot

•    $145 billion to Florida smokers – tobacco companies knew of the smoke danger to health

•    $300 million to flight attendants – tobacco companies’ settlement of class action

•    $79.6 million– HMO insurance bad faith class action, failure to pay insured’s therapy charges

•    $540 million to gas station dealers – oil company’s failure to fulfill a promised gas price reduction which should have been included in the wholesale price

•    $2.65 million to auto repair shop workers- class action, vibration injuries- defective tool

The U.S. courts and laws cover domestic and international corporate disputes, permit recoveries in excess of suffered damages, allow litigation to be conducted relatively inexpensively (on a contingency fee basis or through the litigation finance firms), and in general yield fair results.

A majority of law firms charges their clients for services rendered on an hourly basis. Some firms, including our firm, charge their clients on a contingency (a percentage of recovery) fee basis, and mainly in class action and bodily injury suits. Such firms are result-oriented and try to finish the litigation as soon as possible. Clients sometimes pay the costs of litigation as well. There are finance firms providing financial assistance to litigants in exchange for a percentage of the recovery. Contingency fee arrangements equalize the legal forces, remove the clients’ fear of attorney fee billing and give opportunity to poor people to fight the Goliaths of the corporate world.

Boris Parad is a principal at Parad Law Offices, P.C., specializing in corporate fraud and bodily injury litigation. He has litigated cases in both federal and state courts in Illinois, Colorado, California, Michigan, and Wisconsin. He has argued cases in the Illinois appellate courts as well. Parad offers free consultation and accepts cases on a contingency fee basis.

For information: http://www.paradfirm.com or

Contact:

Kim T. Sanders

Phone: 262-965-4832

Fax: 262-965-4823

sanders@phaedeaux.com     

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