Jury awards UC Irvine trustee and opponents damages in civil case

A UC Irvine trustee won damages this week in a fraud and defamation lawsuit unrelated to his university duties but was also ordered to pay significant damages to his legal opponents, representatives for both parties confirmed.

A U.S. District Court jury in Santa Ana ordered businessman Paul Edalat to pay the trustee, Bruce Cahill, $600,000 in a lawsuit involving Irvine-based Pharma Pak, a now-defunct pharmaceutical packaging business.


Cahill asserted in his lawsuit that Edalat, a stakeholder in the business, defrauded and made defamatory statements about him, according to Markham and Read, the firm representing Cahill.

"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," Cahill's attorney, John Markham, said in a news release.

UC Irvine trustee Bruce Cahill on Tuesday was awarded $600,000 in damages by a federal jury.
UC Irvine trustee Bruce Cahill on Tuesday was awarded $600,000 in damages by a federal jury. (Courtesy of UCI Foundation)

However, Cahill must pay Edalat $250,000 for allegedly breaching his fiduciary responsibility in the business venture and $10,000 to a party that claimed sexual harassment and wrongful termination.

" … Cahill is found to have breached his responsibility to shareholders," said Saied Kashani, Edalat's lawyer, explaining that his client won his breach of fiduciary duty claim.

Cahill and other Pharma Pak shareholders filed a lawsuit in May 2016 against former employee Olivia Karpinski and minority shareholder Edalat.

Months later, Edalat and Karpinski filed suit alleging that Karpinski, who was hired in June 2015, was sexually harassed throughout her employment and wrongfully terminated in March from her job as executive vice president of sales and marketing.

Karpinski was found liable to Cahill for $11,000 in damages based on defamatory statements she made on social media, the news release from Cahill's firm says. She was also awarded $10,000 for her claims, according to Markham and Read.

Kashani confirmed those awards to the Daily Pilot as well.

Edalat was also held liable for damages to Pharma Pak investors Greg Cullen, Ron Franco and Shane Scott, the release says.

Another hearing on punitive damages in the case will take place Aug. 22 at the Santa Ana court. In that round Karpinski is seeking damages against Cahill, who is seeking damages against Edalat.