Keeping Current

Important Matters

Legal Arts Delivers 90+ minutes of Animated Technology Tutorials for Wi-LAN’s Successful Series of Cases relating to Wi-Fi and WiMAX Technologies

Legal Arts was engaged by McKool Smith’s New York City office to prepare three fully animated and narrated technology tutorials on behalf of Wi-LAN, Inc., the holder of several key Wi-Fi and WiMAX patents.  The tutorials covered six fundamental technology patents used in three separate claims construction (Markman) hearings versus more than 20 defendants at federal court in the Eastern District of Texas (Marshall), November 2010 through January 2011.  All cases settled prior to trial.

CEO Jim Gripp Designated as Expert for the Defense in U.S. Army/Iraq Capital Murder Case – December 2009-May 2011

Legal Arts CEO Jim Gripp was designated as the Crime Scene Reconstruction and Visual Communication Expert, and testified in the capital murder defense of U.S. Army Sgt. Joseph Bozicevich. Sgt. Bozivech was accused of killing two fellow Army sergeants at an Army control base in Iraq. His trial concluded in May 2011 at Ft. Stewart, Georgia and was sentenced to life without parole.

Legal Arts prepared a 3D-animated tutorial demonstrating a button battery compartment for a consumer bathroom scale alleged by plaintiff to be defectively designed.

Sempra Energy v. California Department of Water Resources

Contract Validity – jury verdict confirming validity of contract worth
$2 billion to utility – November 2009

Hennigan, Bennett & Dorman LLP

During the 2000-01 energy crisis, the State of California Department of Water Resources entered into a ten-year contract with Sempra Energy Resources to provide almost 2 gigawatts of power for $6.6 billion, which represented a fixed and stable price for the State during a time of extreme price volatility.

After energy prices stabilized, the State first sought to renegotiate the contract, and when that failed, to invalidate it in an attempt to reduce its costs by as much as $2 billion. After a five-week trial, the jury decided in favor of Sempra.

Legal Arts role: After the four defense key experts prepared their initial drafts
of demonstrative exhibits, Legal Arts was engaged to evaluate and enhance concepts for final presentation, in addition to providing on-going day-to-day graphics support throughout the trial

Crabbe, et al. v. City of San Diego

Liability for Residential Area Landslide – bench trial defense verdict saves City at least $100 million – October 2009
Butz Dunn & DeSantis

On October 3, 2007, a landslide occurred on Soledad Mountain in residential La Jolla that destroyed three homes, left three more uninhabitable, and resulted in property damage to several surrounding properties and significant inconvenience to more than 60 homeowners. In a bifurcated trial separating liability and damages, plaintiffs sued the City of San Diego, alleging that a series of water leaks that occurred over a very short period of time emanating from a negligently maintained water main at the head scarp of the slide caused the slide. The defense countered that the slide area was inherently unstable and that the water leaks were the result of, rather than the cause of, natural movement of earth over an ancient landslide plane.

After a month-long bench trial in San Diego Superior Court, the judge found no liability on the part of the City. As a result, plaintiffs were unable to present the damages portion of their case for which they intended to seek up to $100 million.

Legal Arts role: Engaged as the global visual communications consultant for the defense, Legal Arts was tasked with quickly learning the science relating to landslide factors and working with key geotechnical and hydrology experts to craft graphics that explained the geological history of the site, documented evidence, and the prevailing alternative causation theory.

Doe v. Roe

Personal Injury and Product Liability – confidential settlement after mediation – September 2009
White, Oliver & Amundson

Plaintiff was a toddler who swallowed a small button battery at her home. After a misdiagnosis prompted serious complications, the object was surgically removed but resulted in long-term ill effects. Plaintiff’s counsel alleged that the battery fell out of a defectively designed battery compartment of a bathroom scale distributed and sold by defendants. However, plaintiff could not produce the scale and the battery was discarded by the hospital, so no direct physical evidence was available.

Legal Arts role: Demonstrative exhibits were designed to teach the jury about different battery sizes (an issue because the hospital’s measurement of the removed battery did not match OEM specifications); and an animation was produced to demonstrate the mechanism of installing and removing a battery from the product.

Versata Software v. SAP America

Patent Infringement – $138 million jury verdict – August 2009
McKool Smith

Jurors in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division found that defendant infringed two Versata product patents related
to pricing technology. The jury also rejected SAP’s assertion that the patents were invalid. A verdict for $138 million on behalf of Versata was issued on August 26, 2009.

Legal Arts role: Our most important contribution was onsite graphics coordination between six sets of attorneys and experts, and overnight development of graphics in advance of each day’s testimony that were combined with concepts prepared in advance of trial. High level of responsiveness coupled with familiarity between team members helped
plaintiff to substantially streamline the process of graphics completion.

SC Johnson v. All Modes Logistics, et al.

Conspiracy to Commit Fraud and Bribery – zero damages jury verdict – June 2009
Robert F. Coleman & Associates

In June 2009, two executives, who ran All Modes Logistics, a transportation firm, were exonerated of all charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit bribery,
and fraud, and violating the Wisconsin Organized Crime Control Act. The defendants were severed from a prior trial that awarded plaintiff SC Johnson $203.8 million in damages from other defendants who engaged in a kickback scheme perpetrated by SC Johnson’s transportation director in exchange for company business. After two days of deliberations after a lengthy trial, the Racine, Wisconsin jury found defendants not liable and unanimously decided not to award compensatory damages to SC Johnson, which sought as much
as $101.9 million.

Legal Arts role: Creative work product focused on key demonstratives that proved that prices charged by defendant to plaintiff were totally in line with industry standards, which was contradictory to proof offered in the underlying fraud case against other defendants. In addition, Legal Arts provided on-site courtroom presentation support for the entire defense case.

Fuddruckers, Inc. v. Roe Law Firm

Professional Liability – Confidential settlement – February 2009
Bryan C. Vess, APC

Plaintiff restaurant group was noticed that it was in violation of California Proposition 65 pertaining to its system-wide sale of soda pop bottles with painted labels containing lead. As part of a class settlement, the company was given a limited time to settle all violations for a fine of $37,500. Plaintiff’s outside counsel recommended, and the store complied, that the fine not be paid.

Subsequently, plaintiff was sued for multiple violations and eventually settled for $1.1 million, prompting plaintiff to sue its outside counsel for malpractice, specifically failing to conduct a timely and adequate investigation, and for their advice that led to the million-dollar settlement amount. Following a one-day mediation, plaintiff was awarded $750,000 plus attorney fees.

Legal Arts role: Plaintiff’s counsel made the decision to present its client’s case vigorously and thoroughly at mediation. Legal Arts designed and produced key visual concepts that summarized plaintiff’s case in clear, concise, and persuasive terms in PowerPoint form that accommodated last-minute additions by counsel.

Finmeccanica S.p.A and Ansaldo Ricerche, S.p.A v. General Motors Corporation

Misappropriation of Trade Secrets – Confidential settlement –
January 2009

McKool Smith

Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica settled a trade secret matter with defendant GM relating to GM’s use of next-generation hybrid and electric vehicle in-wheel motor technology owned by Finmeccanica. Potential exposure was in the $50-$100 million range.

Legal Arts role: Engaged as the global visual communications consultant for plaintiff, Legal Arts documented physical evidence as various locations in the United States and Italy; prepared technical demonstratives comparing pre-existing technologies with those produced by defendant based on those technologies; and designed numerous other graphics ranging from a tutorial about the technology at issue to chronological treatments of relationships and interactions between various key players.


2009 San Diego State University Legal Arts Information Design Scholarship Winners

$2,500: Justin Gaspar for his interactive presentation
“Reckless Driving”

$1,500: Jonathan Pierce for his video and print presentation “Generation Under the Influence”

$1,000: Neil Kupras for his multimedia presentation
“Going Green”

Left to right: Legal Arts CEO Jim Gripp, Justin Gaspar, Neil Kupras, Jonathan Pierce, Legal Arts President
Doug Maynard.

Salk Institute v. Ligand Pharmaceuticals

Breach of Contract – settlement before arbitration – September 2008
Cooley, LLP

$13 million settlement resolved several issues between the companies, the most significant relating to the sale of an anti-cancer drug to a third party.

Legal Arts role: Prepare a comprehensive technology tutorial related to chemical composition and properties of the anti-cancer drug Targretin.

Cemex v. Jenkins Concrete

Breach of Contract – settlement before jury trial – September 2008
Herold & Sager

Plaintiff’s assertion that defendant was in fact dispatched to a construction site by plaintiff was proven with the use of audio recordings of transmissions between a defendant driver and plaintiff’s dispatcher.

Legal Arts role: Develop an interactive Flash presentation that visually displayed the back-and-forth communications between the driver and dispatcher.

Ameren UE v. GE International, Inc.

Breach of Contract – settlement before jury trial – August 2008
Denenberg Tuffley

Plaintiff sought recovery of out-of-service economic damages due to a faulty repair of one of a public utility’s turbine generator rotors.

Legal Arts role: Design a detailed 3D-animated tutorial demonstrating the process of repairing a turbine generator.

Moncrieff v. Global Wireless Entertainment

Breach of Contract and Theft of Trade Secrets – settlement after arbitration – June 2008
Mintz. Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo

Dispute between the inventor of an innovative printing process, utilized for customized mobile phone graphics appliqués, and his business partner who was accused of canceling their business relationship after it acquired the asserted trade secrets and set up a competing operation.

Legal Arts role: Prepare graphics that demonstrated the contractual relationships between the parties and others and actions undertaken by each within or outside the bounds of the contract.

Beaumont v. PIMG

Breach of Employment Contract – jury trial –
June 2008
Duckor, Spradling, Metzger & Wynne

Defendant was accused of not extending discretionary benefits to a departing member of a medical group. Jury verdict returned less than 15% of plaintiff’s demand.

Legal Arts role: Prepare a comprehensive Visual Strategy for the defense and design the key demonstratives used at trial.

Williams v. F.V. Ebbco

Maritime Personal Injury – settlement before jury trial – May 2008
Banning Micklow & Bull

Fishing boat crewman was injured manning a cable on a net pile because an improperly secured skiff abruptly shifted position.

Legal Arts role: 3D-animation illustrating mechanism of injury to plaintiff’s hand.

Oris v. Allion

Breach of Contract – settlement before jury trial – April 2008
Jaczko & Goddard and Chapin & Fleming

Inventor of an innovative pharmacy tracking software alleged defendant of failing to adhere to contractual obligations to promote the application after promising to do so.

Legal Arts role: Design tutorial demonstratives explaining plaintiff’s innovative prescription drug and pharmacy patient tracking software and graphics demonstrating alleged culpability of defendant.