Minneapolis, MN—January 5, 2017—After securing a $5.7 million jury award for an inventor’s company in a license dispute over royalties against furniture maker La-Z-Boy Inc. in 2016, national trial firm Robins Kaplan LLP® has received an order by a Florida federal court rejecting all of La-Z-Boy’s remaining defenses.
“We are gratified by the court’s ruling, which required La-Z-Boy to honor the promises it made to our client,” said Ronald J. Schutz, chair of Robins Kaplan’s national Intellectual Property and Technology Litigation group and lead counsel for the plaintiff in the litigation. Robins Kaplan represented Megdal Associates LLC, a company co-founded by the late inventor Paul Megdal, who, in the late 1990s, designed mechanisms to power the furniture giant’s popular recliners.
The case stemmed from a 2002 license agreement in which La-Z-Boy agreed to pay Megdal Associates royalties on sales of products that incorporated its technology for use in La-Z-Boy’s furniture. In November 2014, Robins Kaplan filed suit on behalf of Megdal Associates against La-Z-Boy for breach of the license. After a March 2016 trial, a jury found that La-Z-Boy violated the license agreement by failing to pay royalties on three different successful product lines and awarded Megdal Associates $5.7 million in damages.
Yesterday’s ruling rejected five different equitable defenses asserted by La-Z-Boy, which the court considered independent of the jury. “The Court’s detailed and thorough opinion has now resolved all of La-Z-Boy’s defenses in favor of Megdal Associates,” said Robins Kaplan principal Patrick M. Arenz, who handled oral argument on these defenses and tried the jury case with Schutz. “This decision, along with the jury verdict, vindicates Paul Megdal’s work and contribution to La-Z-Boy’s successful line of power motion furniture.”
In addition to Schutz and Arenz, the Robins Kaplan team included Ari B. Lukoff, Emily E. Niles, and Shira T. Shapiro.
The case, Megdal Associates LLC v. La-Z-Boy Inc., was heard before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida by the Hon. William J. Zloch.