Indiana law firm Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP obtained a $1.9 million award on behalf of its client, Westbridge, Ltd., and its owner as the result of a counterclaim against New Sunshine, one of the largest skin care products companies in the United States. The week-long jury trial was held in Marion County Superior Court with the verdict rendered on Feb. 23.
The Benesch team was led by partner Peter French and included partner Andi Metzel, associate Patrick Fitzpatrick, and paralegal Monica Dabio.
The case exemplified complex business litigation. Over the last 10 years, Westbridge has advised U.S. companies how to conduct business in the Pacific Rim of Asia, and in 2011, New Sunshine hired Westbridge to develop business strategy and introduce Australian Gold sunscreen products into that market. All involved parties were aware at the outset that the process would take years to accomplish. Two years into the project, the beneficial owners of New Sunshine, John Menard and Steve Hilbert, had a disagreement that turned into a clash of business titans. Mr. Hilbert was removed from New Sunshine and Mr. Menard installed a Menard’s store manager, Matt Cotton, to take over the multimillion-dollar skin care company. Mr. Cotton cleaned house and terminated contracts with any business that had a relationship with Mr. Hilbert. Westbridge was one of those businesses.
The jury determined that the termination of the business arrangement with was unlawful and the jury awarded Westbridge actual and consequential damages resulting from that conduct.
The case is New Sunshine, LLC, et al. v. Trent D. Decatur, et al., 49D07-1304-PL-015255.