Kang and Del Pizzo Secure $8.2M Defamation Verdict

February 27, 2024 | Commercial Litigation

After a two-week trial in the District of New Jersey, Gene Kang, Nancy Del Pizzo and Rivkin Radler paralegal Madhumitha Selvakumar secured a jury verdict in the amount of $8.2 million on behalf of plaintiffs New York Machinery Inc. and Kleaners LLC.

Plaintiffs commenced the lawsuit after defendant, John Chung a/k/a Seung Chae Chung used: (i) his magazine, defendant, The Korean Cleaners Monthly, (ii) verbal assaults and (iii) emails to engage in an appalling, more than year-long defamatory campaign to wrongfully destroy plaintiffs’ business and reputation by disseminating false and defamatory statements regarding plaintiffs’ character and products throughout the industry.

Plaintiffs’ claims sounded in false advertising and unfair competition under the Lanham Act and New Jersey law, defamation per se, tortious interference with contract, trade libel, and false light.

The jury found in favor of plaintiffs on all counts – and although the verdict needed only six of the eight jurors, it was unanimous on each count. The jury found the case “exceptional” under the Lanham Act and trebled compensatory damages of $1.8 million, adding $5.4 million to the award. The jury also awarded $1 million in punitive damages. They denied defendants’ counterclaim for account stated/unjust enrichment in its entirety.

The case was profiled in Law360.

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  • Nancy A. Del Pizzo
  • Gene Y. Kang

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