Newark – Following a six-and-a-half month trial, a New Jersey federal jury Thursday returned a $20 million antitrust verdict (which will be automatically trebled to $60 million) in favor of K&L Gates LLP telecom client Continuant, Inc./Telecom Labs, Inc. (TLI), independent servicers of telephone equipment.
TLI had been accused by Avaya, a large manufacturer of telephone systems, of improperly accessing and maintaining systems manufactured by Avaya. Earlier in the trial, the firm had obtained dismissal of Avaya’s claims. In Thursday’s verdict, TLI prevailed on its own claims that Avaya violated the antitrust laws in seeking to restrict parties such as TLI from maintaining Avaya-built systems in an aftermarket consisting of maintenance for the products of a single manufacturer.
The U.S. Supreme Court first recognized the potential viability of such claims in a case involving a servicer of Kodak products more than 20 years ago. TLI’s case is the first since that of the original Kodak plaintiffs to make it to trial and to a successful verdict. The verdict will have significance across a wide range of industries where manufacturers seek to control the servicing of their products.
The case is captioned Avaya Inc. v. Telecom Labs, Inc., et al. (No. 06-2640), and was presided over by Judge Joseph E. Irenas in the United States District Court for New Jersey.
The K&L Gates team was led by Newark partners Anthony La Rocco and Charles Rysavy and New York antitrust partner Douglas Broder.
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