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Jury awards millions in damages in breach of contract case

When there is a breach of contract dispute between businesses in California or elsewhere in the country, the result could be litigation. If the case goes to court, of course, evidence such as the original agreement and communications between the two companies is critical in convincing a judge or jury of guilt. However, a lack of evidence could be considered proof of wrongdoing, as well, particularly if important documentation disappears.

A book manufacturing company in California, EPAC Technologies, recently won a civil lawsuit claiming that HarperCollins had breached the contract made for EPAC's services by making false claims in order to get out of the agreement. EPAC claimed that HarperCollins committed fraud, as well. A jury unanimously agreed on the guilty verdict in the case that lasted six years. HarperCollins is appealing the decision.

According to documents filed with the court, the contract between EPAC and Harper Collins was terminated illegally. After the breach of contract allegedly took place, a federal court ordered HarperCollins to keep all messages relating to the case. Instead, the company allegedly deleted more than 1.5 million of the messages which may have contained evidence. Not only did the jury order HarperCollins to pay compensatory damages, it also awarded EPAC punitive damages. The total award was $15 million.

Business disputes are sometimes resolved through alternative dispute resolution methods, but there are times when the only way to hold a company responsible is through the court system. Many businesses choose to hire litigation attorneys to represent a case before a judge or jury.

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