A former employee of a Tarzana medical testing firm, who last week was awarded $9 million in a lawsuit against the company, was ordered Monday to pay his ex-employer $600,000 in damages.
Jurors had sided with employee Harvey J. Lippman in the suit, which argued that he was entitled to a 20% share of the company at the time he was fired. The $9-million verdict last Tuesday was one of the largest awards in Van Nuys Superior Court history, said Judge Thomas Schneider.
But Monday, jurors also decided that Lippman had misappropriated trade secrets and unfairly competed against his former employer, Central Diagnostic Laboratories, and ordered him to pay $600,000.
Lippman filed the suit against the company in October, 1985, after he was fired by the firm’s owner, Dr. Allen M. Levy. Lippman, who worked for the firm 14 years, claimed he was entitled to 20% of the company under an oral agreement with Levy.
Levy’s attorney, Allan Browne, filed a cross complaint against Lippman alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and unfair competition.
Don Howarth, Lippman’s attorney, maintained that Levy fired Lippman to avoid giving him 20% of the company, an oral commitment the attorney said Levy agreed to in 1976.
Browne argued that since Lippman, 46, could produce no written document, the oral agreement was not valid. He also maintained that his client fired Lippman when he discovered that his employee was using the firm’s client lists and other assets to establish his own company.