(Repost due to spam)
It was a huge moral - and practical - victory for Team Dandar today in the Clearwater breach case before Judge Baird. After just three hours of deliberation, the jury returned with a verdict of $4500 in damages - just slightly higher than the $2500 put forward by Dandar's attorney, Luke Lirot.
Scientology had been seeking $50,000 plus punitive damages from Dandar and Dandar, and according to an article in today's SP Times, lead att'y Sam Rosen even suggested to the jury that anything short of $2,000,050 would not be suitably punitive.
In his closing statement, Rosen demanded punitive damages from Dandar's firm and Dell McPherson, executor of the McPherson estate, totalling $4,000,000 - on top of the $50,000 the church sought for legal fees.
The jury, apparently, disagreed. In a public statement, the jury forewoman, herself a public defender, called the church's claims "overkill". In its decision, the jury dismissed the claims of tortious interference and conspiracy on which the church had based its demands for massive punitive damages.
The victory is doubly sweet for Dandar. Since the awarded damages are less than the $15,000 that Dandar offered to settle the case, under Florida's Proposal for Settlement Statute, he won't have to pay one thin dime of the $4,500 award.
In fact, the church will have to pay all Dandar's att'y fees and costs accumulated from the time of the settlement offer. Sources say that a forklift was quickly dispatched to the courtroom to lift Rosen's chin from the floor.
With the threat of the breach case off its back, the McPherson Estate is ready to take on the church in the wrongful death case later this fall. Congratulations to Dandar and Dandar, Luke Lirot and everyone else who helped make this victory possible.