SAN DIEGO, CA – Los Angeles-based litigation firm, Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks & Lincenberg, P.C., won a $3 million jury verdict on behalf of its client Elite of Los Angeles, Inc. (“Elite”) against Summa Consulting, LLC, former Elite officer and director Christopher Hamilton, and a group of former employees, all of whom stole Elite’s proprietary information to launch a competing business.
Elite is affiliated with Elite Educational Institute, a premier provider of test preparation and college admission counseling services to high school students. After resigning as an employee of Elite, but while still an officer and director, defendant Christopher Hamilton secretly began operating a competing business known as Summa Consulting. Not only did Mr. Hamilton use Elite’s private customer list to solicit new clients, but he recruited Elite’s key administrative and teaching staff to join his new firm. The other former Elite employees named as defendants in the suit were Karl Hagen, Andrew Chung, Elizabeth Tesolin Hamilton, Jennifer Suh and Deborah Kang.
The jury awarded actual damages to Elite in the amount of $3 million against Summa and the various defendants, and also assessed punitive damages against Mr. Hamilton.
“We are gratified the jury agreed that the defendants acted with malice and oppression toward our client,” said Bird Marella partner Ekwan E. Rhow, who regularly handles high-stakes trials. “These former employees stole Elite’s trade secrets and intentionally interfered with Elite’s existing business relationship with its clients.” Mr. Rhow and Bird Marella attorney Jessica Kornberg lead the trial team for Elite.