Altior Law and its attorneys Kenneth Neuman and Stephen McKenney recently obtained a $687,244 jury verdict following a five-day jury trial in the Oakland County Business Court. The matter of International Outdoor, Inc. v Lamar Advertising of Michigan, Inc. involved competing claims concerning the validity of leases to erect a billboard in Auburn Hills. International Outdoor claimed that it had timely renewed its first-in-time lease before Lamar entered into a subsequent lease for the property. Altior Law’s client, Lamar, contended that International Outdoor’s claimed renewal was a product of fraud and based on a back-dated renewal letter authored by International Outdoor’s president. In addition to their claims concerning the superiority of their respective lease interests, International Outdoor and Lamar also asserted competing tortious interference claims. The case was first tried in 2018, with the jury returning a verdict in favor of International Outdoor. In late 2019, however, the first jury verdict was set aside following a two-day evidentiary hearing in which a former International Outdoor worker came forward and testified that he had seen the International Outdoor’s president fabricate its claimed lease renewal letter – the key piece of evidence in the first trial – and backdate it to make it appear timely.
After successfully defending series of intervening attempts by International Outdoor to appeal the trial court’s setting aside of the first verdict, Altior attorneys Kenneth Neuman and Stephen McKenney tried the case for a second time between August 13 and 19, 2021. Relying on the eye-witness testimony of International Outdoor’s former worker and computer forensic evidence, Altior’s attorneys presented evidence that International Outdoor’s president engaged in a fraudulent scheme to backdate a renewal letter only after belatedly learning that its lease had expired. After approximately two-hours of deliberation, the eight-person jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Lamar. The jury awarded Lamar $687,244 in damages finding that International Outdoor had tortiously interfered with Lamar’s lease – all of the damages requested by Lamar during the trial. In addition to awarding damages, the jury also found that Altior’s client, Lamar, had the controlling lease for the property that was the subject of the dispute.
Altior Law congratulates Mr. Neuman and Mr. McKenney for their hard-earned win on behalf of Lamar.