A $32.2 million jury verdict in a legal malpractice action, in which Kristi Browne of Patterson Law Firm was lead trial counsel, against Dentons US, part of the self-proclaimed largest law firm in the world, was unanimously affirmed by the Ohio Court of Appeals for the 8th District on April 28, 2022. The jury verdict was the largest legal malpractice verdict an Ohio court has ever awarded. The case, RevoLaze v. Dentons US, involved claims from the Ohio-based technology company RevoLaze LLC that Dentons committed malpractice in a patent infringement case in which it was disqualified from representing RevoLaze due to a conflict of interest.
The three-judge Ohio appellate panel found that Dentons US’ membership in a Swiss verein, a form of business association “with a common conflicts base, that shares client confidential information throughout the organization, is irreconcilable with Dentons US’ contention that it was separate from Dentons Canada.” Revolaze, LLC v. Dentons US LLP, 2022-Ohio-1392 (Ohio App. 8th Dist.).
The other key issue in the case was Dentons US’ position that to prove its case under the Ohio Supreme Court precedent set in Environmental Network Corp. v. Goodman Weiss Miller, L.L.P., 2008-Ohio-3833, Revolaze had to prove the “case-within-a-case” to show it would have won its infringement action. The appellate court found that RevoLaze satisfied the “case-within-a-case” burden. Its evidence included expert testimony, the testimony of RevoLaze founder Dr. Darryl Costin, an engineer, and admissions from Dentons US partner Mark Hogge. “The appellate court wrote a thoughtful, 56 page opinion that reflected an enormous attention to detail. I wasn’t surprised that we won but I am gratified that the court spent so much time and effort on the opinion, which will be a landmark for decades,” said Kristi Browne, lead counsel for RevoLaze. She added, “Dr. Costin and his family had worked so hard on the invention that it is nice to see that he will finally be rewarded for it. The decision is good news for every small business in Ohio that depends upon legal advice free from conflicts of interest.”
For any questions about legal malpractice or the case please contact Kristi Browne at firstname.lastname@example.org.