Automated Telemarketing Services, Inc.: Successful Prosecution of Breach of Contract and Tortious Interference Claims
April 30, 2011
Automated Telemarketing Services, Inc. (“ATS”) was an independent sales representative and distributor for Aspect Software, Inc. (Aspect) for more than 20 years. In 2009, ATS filed a claim against Aspect arising out of Aspect’s termination of a Sales Representative Agreement under the guise that ATS failed to achieve its 2008 sales quota. The value of the claim consisted of approximately $400,000 of unpaid commissions and an additional claim of $1.3 million in lost profits due to the alleged tortious interference by the defendant relating to its plan to hinder ATS’s ability to make quota and to interfere with ATS’s prospective customer relations. ATS engaged Maslon to pursue its claims.
Due to exculpatory provisions in the Sales Representative Agreement, a claim for wrongful termination was not permitted to go forward. Therefore, Maslon pursued a breach-of-contract theory to recover unpaid commissions as well as a much more legally complex tortious interference theory, pursuant to which ATS was entitled to seek recovery of its lost profits for expected revenues it would have gained but for Aspect’s alleged interference with its customer and employee relationships. Justin tried the case in federal district court for the District of Minnesota before the Honorable Donovan W. Frank for a week in April 2011. The twelve-member jury ultimately returned a verdict in favor of Maslon’s client, ATS, in the amount of $1.7 million.