Stoel Rives Successfully Defends $2MM Breach of Contract Case

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Stoel Rives LLP served as lead trial counsel for Biotronik, Inc. (“Biotronik”), a privately held multinational biomedical technology company, and its employee, Neal Hanson, in a hotly contested breach of contract matter alleging that Hanson breached his employment agreement with St. Jude Medical S.C., Inc. (“SJM”) by resigning his employment and going to work for Biotronik, that he breached his duty of loyalty, and that Biotronik intentionally interfered with SJM’s employment relationship with Hanson.  The court granted summary judgment in Biotronik’s favor on the interference claim. 

The remaining claims went to trial on August 3, 2015 in federal court in St. Paul, Minnesota.  On August 11, 2015, a jury found that SJM’s breach of Hanson’s employment agreement was “material,” such that it relieved Hanson from further performance under the contract; however, the jury also found that Hanson waived SJM’s material breach by his subsequent conduct.  As a result, the jury ultimately concluded that Hanson breached the term-of-years provision of his SJM employment agreement.  The jury also determined that Hanson did not breach his employee duty of loyalty.  Prior to trial, SJM had asserted damages of more than $1.3MM and also sought roughly $1MM in attorney’s fees.  The jury ultimately awarded SJM $95,000 on the breach of contract claim.  

The Stoel Rives trial team was led by Todd Hanchett and Maggie Dalton. 

Key Contributors

Todd A. Hanchett
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