CAMDEN, NJ--(Marketwired - March 27, 2014) - A jury has found that Fortune 500 telecom manufacturer Avaya violated federal antitrust laws, awarding independent telecom service provider Continuant (www.continuant.com) $20 million in compensatory damages.
The legal case spanned nearly eight years, concluding with a six-month trial in U.S. District Court in Camden, New Jersey. The Honorable Joseph E. Irenas -- the third federal judge involved with this case -- presided. All of Avaya's original claims against Continuant were dismissed by the Court on January 7.
By statute, the damages will automatically be trebled to $60 million. Avaya will also be required to compensate Continuant for legal fees, in an amount still to be determined by the Court.
Continuant CEO Doug Graham hailed the decision as a vindication for the company he co-founded in 1996.
"When Avaya couldn't beat us in the market place, they tried beating us with almost eight years of scorched-earth litigation," he said. "Today, the jury has not only put a stop to that but has also awarded us a portion of the damages that some of their actions have caused us. It is a blessing to live in a country that protects and values competition."
Graham thanked both Continuant employees, who "never gave up, even when the going was the toughest," and the legal team of K&L Gates LLP for their "extraordinary work over the course of eight years."
In issuing the verdict, the eight-person jury found that Avaya violated antitrust law in its attempt to prohibit Continuant from providing post-warranty maintenance of Avaya telephone and predictive dialer systems designed for large businesses.
According to Bruce Shelby, Chief Sales Officer and Continuant co-founder, "Our main objective in filing our counterclaim nearly eight years ago was to have the right to compete on a level playing field. Now," he said, "we can."
Anthony P. La Rocco, one of the partners who led the15-lawyer K&L Gates team, said, "We are pleased to have been able to represent Continuant in obtaining this monumental verdict, which will result in greater choice of service and better pricing options for customers not only in the telecommunications sector but across several industries," he said. "Today's verdict not only gives Continuant the right to compete in the post-warranty service marketplace, but it also clearly gives Avaya's customers the power to choose their own service provider."