WMJ Secures $6 Million Jury Verdict In Patent Legal Malpractice Action

Posted: 02/14/2013 | Share This Post

Michael C. Bruck, Megan A. Rees and Kirstin B. Ives recently obtained a $6 million jury verdict in the case of Meriturn Partners LLC, Meriturn Fund Management LLC, Meriturn Fund LP, and SSI Investors, LLC v. Banner & Witcoff Ltd. and Joseph Berghammer in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. 

Plaintiffs are a venture capital investment fund who considered an investment into a company that held over a dozen patents.  The investors retained Joseph Berghammer of Banner & Witcoff Ltd to perform a patent due diligence on the target company’s patent portfolio.  The target company misrepresented its ownership in one of its 14 patents.  Banner & Witcoff failed to determine the true owner of the patent yet represented to and assured the Plaintiffs that all patents purportedly owned by the target company were, in fact, owned by the target company.  As a result, the investment was made and the entire investment was eventually lost through a combination of not having the patent and the dishonesty of the target company -- both of which would have been uncovered had Berghammer and Banner & Witcoff properly performed the patent due diligence. After an eight day trial, the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois jury agreed and found that Banner & Witcoff and Joseph Berghammer committed legal malpractice and awarded the Plaintiffs $6 million in damages.