Digital Domain has lost a wrongful termination suit from former president Christian Bradley Call, and was ordered by a jury to pay nearly $2 million in damages, reports VARIETY.
Call was awarded $659,500 for breach of contract and more than $1.2 million for wrongful termination. The verdict was handed down Thursday in Malibu Superior Court after a two week trial.
Call alleged that he was fired by executives of Wyndcrest Holdings, Digital Domain's parent company, after he tried to prevent DD from presenting financial projections he thought were fraudulent to a potential investor. The jury was not asked to decide whether Wyndcrest did actually commit fraud.
The investor, Falcon Partners, made the loan in question to DD after hearing a presentation that included those allegedly questionable numbers, but a Falcon representative testified that he did not rely on those projections to make the loan.
On the wrongful termination claim, the jury voted 10 to 2 that, “Brad Call’s efforts to prevent Digital Domain from providing fraudulent projections to a potential lender were a motivating factor for Digital Domain’s decision to discharge.”
The jury had been instructed that for his claim to be upheld, Call only had to believe he was preventing a crime from happening, not that actual fraud was occurring.
Wyndcrest said in a statement that it, “stands by the company’s revenue projections of 2006. The actual performance of the company after August 2006 was never presented to the court or to the jury.” Wyndcrest also asserted that Digital Domain management “performed well in meeting our original growth expectations and has returned the company to a position of market prominence. While we disagree with the decision regarding wrongful termination, we are pleased that each and every one of Mr. Call’s fraud claims were rejected.”
Call's charge of fraud against Digital Domain was rejected. He had alleged that the company had never intended to honor his contract.
Call's lawyers said he was "vindicated" with the jury's verdict.
Digital Domain had countersued Call on the claim that he had breached fiduciary duty and had breached duty of loyalty to the company. Jurors rejected most of those claims, but did find that Call broke his confidentiality agreement by failing to return emails from a home office. Call has been ordered to pay $60,000 to DD.
Digital Domain VP and general counsel Joseph Gabriel said the ruling would "absolutely not" put the company out of business, but did not say whether they were prepared to pay the judgment if necessary.
Wyndcrest is a private investment firm whose investors including director Michael Bay and former NFL quarterback Dan Marino. Neither man was a defendant at trial.