The second trial for PMC Inc. vs. Paul Winkler concluded with defendants claiming victory and plaintiffs vowing to appeal.
"The jury came back and found for our clients on all claims," Jeffrey Kramer, a Los Angeles lawyer representing Winkler, said by telephone.
Lawyer Louis R. Miller of Los Angeles, who led the PMC legal effort, claimed partial victory and said an appeal "must get an error of law corrected. We will appeal on liability."
The dispute dates back to 1998, when Paul Winkler left the presidency of PMC's Winkler Forming in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., and — with several former Winkler Forming employees — established Paul Winkler Plastics in Buena Park, Calif. Both companies extrude and thermoform amorphous PET sheet.
According to the jury in Los Angeles Superior Court, Paul Winkler, his sons Christopher and Colin Winkler, and James Longstreth breached their fiduciary duties in several instances, but those actions did not harm the plaintiffs. The verdict was returned Dec. 27.
"People made technical mistakes but never did anything to harm [PMC]," Kramer said. "The plaintiffs have lost every single claim in the first trial and this trial."
The first PMC-Winkler trial began June 26 and ended Sept. 26 with the jury unable to reach a complete conclusion.
While refusing to award damages, "the [second] jury found fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of loyalty, breach of confidence and breach of good faith and fair dealing" against all four, and a breach of contract against Paul Winkler, Miller said by telephone.
In mid-December, Judge Joseph Kalin had issued a directed verdict on a seventh cause alleging the defendants interfered in PMC's efforts to sell its Winkler Forming Inc. subsidiary in 1998 to venture capital firm Code, Hennessy & Simmons LLC of Chicago for $58 million.
Because the sale opportunity was lost, PMC had argued that it was owed $19 million, Miller said.