April 5, 2011

Seagate’s liability to duped recruit jumps to $2.4 million

Posted in Application Process, Attorney's Fees, Fraud and Misrepresentation, Hiring and Recruiting, Job Descriptions, Minnesota Statute 181.64, Minnesota Statute 181.65 tagged , , , , at 7:42 pm by Tom Jacobson

Last December, I posted an article about how Minnesota’s Seagate Technologies was socked with a $1.9 million jury verdict for misrepresenting a job to a recruit the company hired (see Bloomington-based Seagate hit with $1.9M verdict for misrepresenting job to recruit).  Not surprisingly, lawyers for both sides filed post-trial motions after the verdict was delivered.  Seagate recently lost both motions, and one of them added over a half million dollars to the recruit’s judgment.

In the first post-trial motion, Seagate challenged the outcome of the trial.  Seagate argued that the evidence was not sufficient to support the jury’s verdict and that the company should get a new trial.  In the alternative, Seagate argued that the verdict was excessive and should be reduced.  The federal district court judge who presided over the case, the Hon. Donovan Frank, rejected all of Seagate’s arguments and allowed the verdict to stand (Vaidyanathan v. Seagate US, LLC, http://bit.ly/hMptiM).

At the same time, Vaidyanathan asked the court to award him the attorney’s fees he incurred while litigating against Seagate.  Vaidyanathan’s argument was based on a seldom-used Minnesota statute, Section 181.65 (http://bit.ly/foPuhF), which allows the recovery of fees in cases such as his.  After considering the issues in the case, the amount of time spent by Vaidyanathan’s attorneys on the case (nearly 2050 hours), and the rates charged by his attorneys (ranging from $50.00 per hour for a law clerk to $495.00 per hour for the lead attorney), Judge Frank awarded Vaidyanathan an additional $517,352.50 for his attorney’s fees (see Vaidyanathan v. Seagate US, LLC, http://bit.ly/dS6K9t).  This brings Seagate’s liability to Vaidyanathan to more than $2.4 million.  If Seagate’s own attorney’s fees were roughly the same as Vaidyanathan’s, the company’s overall cost in this case could be approaching $3.0 million.

The case emphasizes the high cost of employment-related litigation, for there are many laws which allow successful employee-plaintiffs to recover their attorney’s fees in addition to their other damages.  Depending on the legal basis for an employee’s claims, those damages can include lost past and future wages and a myriad of other items.  And, employers are rarely awarded their attorney’s fees when they win.  To minimize the risk of getting involved in such high-stakes litigation, employers should regularly consult with legal counsel regarding their employment practices.

For more information about this article, please contact me at taj@alexandriamnlaw.com.

The comments posted in this blog are for general informational purposes only. They are not to be considered as legal advice, and they do not establish an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice regarding your specific situation, please consult your attorney.

Copyright 2011 Swenson Lervick Syverson Trosvig Jacobson, PA


  1. […] After the jury’s award, both sides brought various post-trial motions.  The presiding judge, the Hon. Donovan Frank, upheld the jury’s verdict, and he awarded Vaidyanathan another $517,352.50 for attorney’s fees and court costs (see Seagate’s Liability to Duped Recruit Jumps to $2.4 Million). […]

  2. Seagate Loses Suit to 'Wrongfully Hired' Engineer | Dice Blog Network said,

    […] After all the dust settled from the trial and post trial motions and counter motions, Seagate’s total liability to Vaidyanathan sits at $2.4 million. […]

  3. […] articles, Bloomington-based Seagate Hit with $1.9m Verdict for Misrepresenting Job to Recruit, Seagate’s Liability to Duped Recruit Jumps to $2.4 Million, and Seagate III – the Saga […]

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