Boudreau, Albert & Wohlfeil Announce Court of Appeal to Decide Miller's $10.5 Million Damage Claim against Collectors Universe.
The Orange County court had previously ruled that under California Civil Code section 3344, Miller could recover $750 for each unauthorized use of his name. After the jury's verdict, the trial judge who had replaced the original judge assigned to the case was unwilling to calculate damages pursuant to the original judge's Phase I order. According to BAW, the judge felt that the Court of Appeal would have to rule on the statute's application to Miller's case.
Applying the court's previous ruling of $750 per unauthorized use to the jury's finding of 14,060 unauthorized uses, the judgment would be $10,545,000 on the statutory damage claim. According to BAW, Collectors argued that the judgment should be for $750, which argument the trial judge rejected. The jury also awarded $14,060 to Miller for profits Collectors earned through the unauthorized use of Miller's name.
In order to avoid further delay, Miller and Collectors agreed that the court would enter judgment in the amount of $0.00 on the statutory damage claim. This would allow the Court of Appeals to determine how much Miller was entitled to recover under Civil Code section 3344, given the jury's finding of 14,060 unauthorized uses of his name. Each party retained all rights and arguments on appeal.
Although disappointed that the court would not apply the statutory damages to the jury's factual finding of 14,060 unauthorized uses of his name, Miller remains optimistic that he will prevail when California's appellate courts review the trial record. "It's been a long road to this point. We feel as though the toughest part of the journey is behind us. I have no doubt that we will prevail and receive the full measure of justice the law intended, $10,545,000.
"I felt vindicated by the jury's findings that more than 14,000 Certificates of Authenticity were issued in my name with Collectors Universe having no consent to do so," said Miller of the recent jury verdict. "It had always troubled me that my name was used on certificates issued for products which I had not reviewed. I believe that this is an important ruling to the autograph memorabilia industry."
A ruling on the appeal is likely to take 18 months.
Copies of the court's finding in Phase I of the trial, and the jury's verdict in Phase II of the trial, may be obtained from BAW.
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|Date:||Dec 14, 2005|
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