Macey, Johnston-Ahlen Secure Affirmation of Multimillion-Dollar Judgment at Seventh Circuit

May 9, 2023 Firm News

Armstrong Teasdale Partner Eric Macey and Counsel Julie Johnston-Ahlen secured a victory at the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals when it affirmed the jury verdict in favor of their clients Sunny Handicraft (H.K.) Ltd. and Bin Teh Handicraft (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd.  Sunny and Bin Teh, two Chinese companies that manufacture and distribute seasonal merchandise, brought claims for breach of contract and fraud against Florida-based Envision This, LLC – a company they hired to facilitate the sale and distribution of their products to U.S. retailers, including Walgreens.

Between 2007 and 2013, the companies worked together to arrange holiday shipments to various U.S. retailers. Envision was tasked with securing payment from Walgreens for Sunny and Bin Teh, and from 2007 to 2012, Envision did just that. But, in 2013, Envision surreptitiously directed Walgreens to pay Envision instead of Sunny and Bin Teh, and Envision collected millions of dollars it was not entitled to. After a two-week trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the jury found in favor of Sunny and Bin Teh on their fraud and breach of contract claims, and awarded nearly $4.5 million in damages, including over $3 million in contract damages, $400,000 in fraud damages and just over $900,000 in punitive damages.

On March 5, 2021, Eric and Julie won all post-trial briefing in the District Court. The case was then appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals which heard argument on April 20, 2023. On May 4, 2023, Sunny and Bin Teh’s judgment was affirmed.

The recent success was also recently featured in Law360 (subscription required).

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