Offit Kurman Attorney Kevin B. Watson Represents Plaintiffs in $3.6 Million Construction Lawsuit Verdict
On January 30th, a jury in the Federal Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania returned a $3.65 million verdict in favor of a construction company whose business owners had been defrauded by a former employee. Kevin B. Watson, a Principal attorney in Offit Kurman’s suburban Philadelphia office, represented the plaintiffs.
The case was brought by Decus, Inc. and Decus Construction, Inc. (collectively, “Decus”), general contractors and construction managers owned by Thomas Aloia and John Sciotto, against Mark Heenan and Heenan’s company, Heenan Holdings, Inc. In October 2015, Decus hired Heenan through a consulting agreement to develop business and otherwise work for Decus. Heenan subsequently attempted to negotiate with Mr. Aloia and Mr. Sciotto for an ownership interest in Decus.
The jury found that, following unsuccessful negotiations, Heenan devised a plan to convert Decus’ business to his own by contacting Decus’ existing corporate clients and defrauding them into changing their contracts from Decus to Heenan Holdings. To do this, Heenan falsely represented his company as a Decus affiliate, going so far as to copy the Decus logo onto his subcontracts, correspondence, and billing statements. He also registered his company with the State of New Jersey as an alternate name for Decus and purchased the domain name for Decus and populated the site with a “cloned” version of the content on Decus’ legitimate site. Heenan was also found to have misappropriated over $330,000 worth of client payments intended for Decus, and also knowingly misrepresented his credentials when he was hired by Decus.
After a three-day jury trial presided over by Judge Mark A. Kearney, the jury awarded plaintiffs $3,654,000, finding Heenan and his company liable on counts of fraud, trademark infringement, tortious interference with contracts, and breach of contract.
Mr. Watson notes on the significance of the outcome, "This case reinforces two important points often undervalued in complex construction cases. First, jurors with varying backgrounds unrelated to construction can indeed absorb highly technical facts and legal arguments if the evidence is presented logically, clearly and efficiently. Second, in the eyes of a jury, the credibility of a defendant, if properly impeached, can effectively destroy an otherwise plausible defense.”
Mr. Watson’s practice focuses on the litigation and resolution of complex construction, commercial, professional liability, intellectual property, products liability, and environmental matters. He has successfully represented domestic and international contractors, design professionals, and project owners before various federal, state, and international courts and arbitration panels. Mr. Watson’s expertise includes contract preparation and risk management for clients bidding or performing work on a variety of projects ranging from heavy industry, transit, and pharmaceutical construction to commercial, educational, and residential construction.
To get in touch with Kevin Watson, and to learn more about Offit Kurman’s Construction Law Practice Group, visit www.offitkurman.com.
ABOUT KEVIN WATSON
Kevin B. Watson is a principal in our Suburban Philadelphia office. Mr. Watson’s practice focuses on the litigation and resolution of complex construction, commercial, professional liability, intellectual property, products liability and environmental matters. He has successfully represented domestic and international contractors, design professionals and project owners before various federal, state and international courts and arbitration panels. Mr. Watson’s expertise includes contract preparation and risk management for clients bidding or performing work on a variety of projects ranging from heavy industry, transit and pharmaceutical construction to commercial, educational and residential construction.
ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN
Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the Mid-Atlantic region. With over 150 attorneys offering a comprehensive range of services in virtually every legal category, the firm is well positioned to meet the needs of dynamic businesses and the people who own and operate them. Our eleven offices serve individual and corporate clients in the Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York City regions. At Offit Kurman, we are our clients’ most trusted legal advisors, professionals who help maximize and protect business value and personal wealth. In every interaction, we consistently maintain our clients’ confidence by remaining focused on furthering their objectives and achieving their goals in an efficient manner. Trust, knowledge, confidence—in a partner, that’s perfect.
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