In May 2011, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP attorney Brian Panish obtained a $39,000,000 settlement for clients William Parrish and E. Timothy Fitzgibbons in a case against FLIR Systems Inc. for malicious prosecution and intentional interference with prospective economic relations. It is believed to be the largest malicious prosecution settlement in California history.
The action arose from FLIR’s purchase of Indigo Systems Corp. in 2004 where Mr. Parrish and Mr. Fitzgibbons were executives. When the men left to start their own business, Thermicon, and began business discussions with Raytheon, FLIR sued them for misappropriating trade secrets, and Raytheon terminated its relationship with Thermicon. In 2008, a Santa Barbara County trial court ruled against FLIR in the underlying misappropriation case and found that the action by FLIR was brought in bad faith – a decision that was upheld on appeal.
Represented by Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, Mr. Parrish and Mr. Fitzgibbons sued FLIR in 2008 in the Santa Barbara County, California Superior Court alleging it had filed the misappropriation action for an anti-competitive purpose and that the case destroyed their new business. FLIR contended, among other defenses, that their actions in the underlying case were protected by the “litigation privilege”. The case settled during a mandatory settlement conference. Mr. Parrish and Mr. Fitzgibbons were also represented by Michael Avenatti of Egan O’Malley & Avenatti.