David vs. Goliath - Jury Awards Over $9.5M to Punish Corporate Greed

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San Diego civil jury teaches corporate America a lesson about greed in the case of Horner v. Carrier. Attorneys Chip Edleson and Joann Rezzo of Edleson & Rezzo were trial counsel for Mr. Horner.

A San Diego civil jury taught corporate America a lesson about greed, promises and guarantees this week, awarding a total of over $9.5 million in the first of several cases filed by Edleson Rezzo Law involving so far nine former employees (case numbers referenced below). San Diego air conditioning salesman Tim Horner was hired away from a 18+ year job to work for a competing company (Carrier Corporation).

In a complaint filed in San Diego Superior Court in 2009, Mr. Horner alleged that Carrier lured Mr. Horner away from his long-term job here in San Diego stating, in writing, that Carrier “guaranteed” to pay him minimum quarterly sales incentive payments of $200,000 a year for his first five years of employment. Carrier terminated Mr. Horner’s employment without notice just before Christmas 13 months later stating that the termination had nothing to do with his performance, just cutting back, and reassigned his clients. Carrier refused to pay Mr. Horner any of the remaining “guaranteed” five years of income claiming that, while it “guaranteed” never to lower his minimum incentive payments, it never “guaranteed” not to fire him. In other words, according to Carrier, the guarantee was guaranteed only until Carrier felt like changing its mind for any or no reason.

The jury found in favor of Mr. Horner on a contract claim, found fraud, and unanimously awarded punitive damages of $8,000,000. The jury today taught Carrier that a guarantee really is a guarantee and that corporate greed will not be rewarded. In an interview with NBC news the evening of the verdict, Mr. Horner summed up the result stating “David can still beat Goliath, even in today’s society.”

Attorneys Chip Edleson and Joann Rezzo of Edleson & Rezzo were trial counsel for Mr. Horner. Ken Rose was also counsel of record for Mr. Horner and assisted throughout the case.

The case discussed above is Horner v. Carrier, San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2009-00103747-CU-BC-CTL. The additional cases are Stewart, et al. v. Carrier Corp., San Diego County Superior Court Case No. 37-2011-90321-CU-BC-CTL and Lulli v. Carrier Corp., U.S. District Court, Central District of California, Southern Division, SACV10-1930 CJC (AGR).

For more information, contact Joann Rezzo at (858) 775-7584.


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Joann Rezzo
Edleson Rezzo Law
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