BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Boston-based law firm Markham & Read today announced that in the case of Bruce Cahill et. al. versus Paul Pejman Edalat et. al. (U.S. Federal Court Docket: 8:16-cv-00686), a federal jury has determined that Edalat deliberately acted with oppression, fraud or malice toward Cahill, the former CEO by of Pharma Pak, Inc. who claimed Edalat had launched a smear campaign against him on social media over a year-long period.
The jury issued an award of $600,000 in damages suffered by Cahill and ruled that Edalat is liable for punitive damages. A hearing will take place in U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Santa Ana division) on August 22nd to determine the extent of punitive damages.
The jury also found that Edalat was liable for damages to Pharma Pak investors Greg Cullen, Ron Franco and Shane Scott.
“We are pleased that the jury sent a clear message to Paul Edalat while fully supporting Bruce Cahill and his longstanding good reputation in the community,” said John J. Markham, attorney for Cahill and the Pharma Pak investors. “The verdict and resulting damages are proof positive that Mr. Cahill was completely vindicated against Edalat’s unscrupulous actions and defamatory statements, along with others who the jury determined were damaged by Edalat.”
During the trial, Markham and attorney Bridget A. Zerner set forth evidence and testimony showing that Edalat induced more than $4 million of investment into Pharma Pak from Cahill, Cullen, Franco, Scott and others by making numerous claims regarding the company’s value, its intellectual property, its existing customer base and roster of prospective clients.
Throughout the proceedings, jurors heard direct evidence that Edalat, an Orange County native who previously filed bankruptcy in Southern California (U.S. Bankruptcy Court Docket: 8:14-bk-14529-TA) and in 2014 was “permanently restrained and enjoined … from directly or indirectly manufacturing, preparing, packing, labeling, holding, or distributing any dietary supplements” by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (U.S. Federal Court Docket: SACV 14-01759-JLS), used investment money to pay for gambling debts in Las Vegas and other lavish expenses. They also reviewed many postings Edalat made on social media regarding the former Pharma Pak CEO’s personal life, which formed the basis of Mr. Cahill’s claims in court that Edalat sought to defame him after litigation was filed in federal court.
Further, the jury ruled that Edalat’s co-defendant, Olivia Karpinski, was liable for $11,000 in damages to Cahill based on defamatory claims she made on social media.
During the trial, the jury heard the testimony of an Irvine police officer that discredited Karpinski’s attempt to falsely claim that she was a victim of sexual battery. Karpinski went to the Irvine Police Department on October 13, 2016, the day before she was deposed in the case and filed a report (Irvine CA Police Department Record #16-15720) claiming she was the victim of “stalking” and returned to the station two hours later to make an additional claim of sexual battery. According to the report, the officer explained her account was not sexual battery and questioned why she waited 11 months to report the allegations. Karpinski had previously posted the false battery claims against Cahill on her Instagram account, where they remained visible to the public for several months.
“As an entrepreneur and philanthropist in Southern California for over 30 years, I am grateful that the jury acknowledged my reputation as an honest, successful businessman in sectors such as technology, semiconductors, publishing, and real estate industries,” said Cahill. “I’m also pleased that they recognized the damages caused by the numerous false claims and defamatory statements made against me by Paul Edalat.”