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February 2013

IronPlanet Prevails on Breach of Contract, Tortious Interference Claims

United States - Iowa

Our firm served as lead trial and appellate counsel for the plaintiff IronPlanet in obtaining a $2.8 million jury verdict. IronPlanet and a competitor pursued the 2011 liquidation auction of equipment owned by the defendant Scheckel Construction. Scheckel first signed an agreement with IronPlanet but later signed an agreement and sold the subject equipment through the competitor. IronPlanet sued Scheckel for breach of contract and the competitor for tortious interference. Following a two-week trial, the jury found both defendants liable for damages. Scheckel was found liable for $338,687, the amount of IronPlanet's profits lost from the expected commissions from the Scheckel equipment auctions. The competitor was found liable for $1,018,852 for the value of profits lost from the Scheckel auctions and other lost business. The competitor was further found liable for $1.5 million in punitive damages for continuing to pursue Scheckel's auctions despite its knowledge of IronPlanet’s previous agreement. On post-trial motions, the district court reduced the compensatory damages award against the competitor to $338,687 but allowed the $1.5 million punitive damages award to stand, for a total judgment of $1,833,687. The appellate decision remitting the punitive damages to $900,000 but otherwise affirming is available at 860 N.W.2d 923. IronPlanet, Inc., v. Richie Bros. Auctioneers (America), Inc., et al., No. 13-0725 (Iowa 2013).

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