San Francisco – San Francisco trial attorney William Webb – founder of the Webb Legal Group – secured a $2,075,000 commercial litigation decision for his client, the Plaintiff – a San Francisco-based online travel agency – against three of its managers and a separate airline ticket consolidator they run for breach of contract and for breach of the managers’ fiduciary duties following a trial in San Francisco Superior Court.
In addition to winning the commercial litigation case, Mr. Webb also won several critical motions during the trial, including a ruling that prevented the Defendants from calling an expert witness to rebut Mr. Webb’s expert witness as to the amount of profits the Plaintiff lost as a result of the Defendants’ actions.
This was a complex commercial litigation case in which several individuals, including the Defendants, created the Plaintiff, an online travel agency, as a start-up joint venture company, and began operation. The Plaintiff’s business model was to obtain discounted airline tickets from the Defendants’ airline ticket consolidation company. The parties agreed to utilize the Plaintiff to pass along those discounts to the traveling public. However, when another company wanted to purchase the Defendant ticket consolidator and expressed concern about the discount relationship, the Defendants wrongfully cut off the Plaintiff’s ticket supply and started voiding tickets that had been issued to the Plaintiff’s customers, in a deliberate attempt to put the Plaintiff out of business. The Plaintiff began to obtain tickets from other suppliers as quickly as possible, but its business was disrupted for more than a year.
The court’s decision
In all, the court found that the Plaintiff suffered $2,075,000 in lost profits during this time period.
In addition, the court held that the Defendant ticket consolidator may owe the Plaintiff even more money, and appointed a judicial referee to calculate exactly how much may still be owed.
The court agreed with the Plaintiff that its managers should not have acted in this manner, in breach of their fiduciary duties to the Plaintiff. Under California law, a fiduciary, including a manager of a limited liability company, owes a duty of care and of loyalty to the beneficiary, which in this case was the Plaintiff. In other words, as its managers, the Defendants owed the Plaintiff a duty of loyalty – i.e. to put the Plaintiff’s interests ahead of their own. The court found that by trying to put the Plaintiff out of business, the Defendants failed to put the Plaintiff’s interests ahead of their own.
The Plaintiff’s CEO stated, “Mr. Webb quickly grasped the situation and laid out a thorough plan for trial. I was amazed at how prepared he and his team were. Bill did a great job in taking complex concepts and facts and distilling them into a story everyone in the courtroom could easily follow. We really felt that he cared for us and believed in our case and us. I couldn’t have asked for more in an attorney.”
The case later settled out of court on a confidential basis.
About the Webb Legal Group and its Commercial Litigation Practice
The Webb Legal Group was founded by attorney William Webb in 2008 following a distinguished career with several well established law firms. Mr. Webb is an attorney with almost a quarter century of commercial litigation and other civil trial experience, and regularly teaches trial advocacy, including commercial litigation, to practicing lawyers through the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, the premier provider of learning-by-doing education for the legal profession.
The Webb Legal Group has recovered millions of dollars for its clients through its aggressive litigation, and has also successfully defended businesses and individuals accused of wrongdoing in commercial litigation cases, through trial and on appeal. The firm practices everything from complex business and commercial litigation and intellectual property disputes to personal injury and probate litigation, among other areas. For more information, please e-mail Mr. Webb or call 415-277-7200.