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Press Releases

Fish & Richardson Secures Texas’ Largest Employment Verdict in 2010

June 13, 2011

Press Releases

Fish & Richardson Secures Texas’ Largest Employment Verdict in 2010

June 13, 2011

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AUSTIN – Fish & Richardson is pleased to announce the firm’s recognition for winning one of the Top Texas Verdicts of 2010 in the annual listing of the state’s largest jury awards published by Texas Lawyer newspaper.

Fish & Richardson’s $28 million breach of contract verdict for computer gaming pioneer Richard Garriott against South Korea-based NCsoft Corp. is ranked as the largest employment-related verdict in Texas last year, and the state’s 15th largest verdict overall.

Mr. Garriott was represented at trial by Fish & Richardson principal Stephen E. Fox, of counsel Tommy Jacks, principal Kelly D. Hine and associate David B. Conrad.

A legend in the video game industry, Mr. Garriott was among the first to develop and market role-playing video games. In 2001, NCsoft acquired Mr. Garriott’s company, Destination Games. As part of the purchase, Mr. Garriott was issued stock options that were valid through May 30, 2011. These options were to remain in place if he was fired by the company, but would expire within 90 days of a voluntary departure.

In 2008, Mr. Garriott took an approved temporary leave of absence from NCsoft to pursue a lifelong dream of space flight. During post-flight quarantine, Mr. Garriott was told by an NCsoft executive that his time with the company was over.

Jurors found that NCsoft breached its stock option agreement with Mr. Garriott by mischaracterizing his termination as voluntary, which forced him to exercise stock options 2½ years early during a down financial market.

The verdict in Richard Garriott v. NCsoft Corp., No. A09 CA 357 SS, was awarded July 29, 2010, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin.

The Top Texas Verdicts of 2010 is included as a special section published in the May 23, 2011, issue of Texas Lawyer.

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