LOS ANGELES, Oct. 6 /CNW/ -- A California Superior Court jury has found
defendants Thai Union International, Inc., Empress International, Inc. and
Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods (collectively "Thai Union"), as well as Bryan
Rosenberg and Brenden Beck (former employees of Contessa Premium Foods, Inc.)
liable in connection with a scheme to steal trade secrets and compete unfairly
with Contessa in the sale of frozen food products in the United States.
The case of Contessa Premium Foods, Inc. v. Bryan Rosenberg et al. (BC
347105) dates back to 2005 when, without Contessa's knowledge, Thai Union
began interviewing several key Contessa sales executives. The jury found that
Thai Union ultimately conspired with two of the highest-ranking sales
executives, defendants Bryan Rosenberg and Brenden Beck, to misappropriate
Contessa's valuable trade secrets, defraud Contessa and take Contessa's
existing as well as anticipated customers. The jury also found that Rosenberg
and Beck breached their fiduciary duty while employed by Contessa and did so
with malice, oppression or fraud. The jury was unanimous in its determination
that Rosenberg and Thai Union engaged in fraud by concealment resulting in
significant damages to Contessa. Contessa was represented in this case by the
Los Angeles office of O'Melveny & Myers LLP.
On September 25, 2008, Contessa was awarded compensatory damages of
approximately $2.8 million. The following day, September 26, the jury came
back with punitive damages against Thai Union for another $1.5 million and
against Rosenberg for another $200,000, making the total damages awarded to
Contessa $4.5 million. In addition, Contessa is legally entitled to recover
its attorney's fees and costs as well as interest on the damages in this case.
A copy of the complete "Special Verdict" rendered by the California Superior
Court jury may be found at
"This is a complete vindication for Contessa, our employees and, most
importantly, our customers who supported us through all of this," said Gregory
J. Morrow, Vice President and Chief Legal Officer for Contessa Premium Foods,
Inc. "The jury's verdict upholds Contessa's exclusive right to its very
valuable trade secrets and sends an undeniable message that the fraud and
obvious wrongdoing on the part of defendants in this case will never be
ABOUT CONTESSA PREMIUM FOODS, INC. -- Contessa has long been recognized
as a leader in the development of innovative high-quality frozen foods.
Contessa's extensive product portfolio includes a variety of value-added
seafood, convenience meals, gourmet stir-fry vegetables and more. Contessa
imports, processes and distributes its high quality products throughout North
America, Europe and Asia. These premium Contessa products are marketed through
a broad range of retail, club, food service and private label channels.
Contessa leads the industry by combining innovation and convenience with its
unmatched standards for consistent quality. Contessa has received
international acclaim by food groups as well as consumers and has been touted
as a leader by government agencies and non-governmental organizations alike.
As a provider of "America's Favorite Shrimp(R)" Contessa remains one of the
top-selling supermarket brands in the country.
For further information:
For further information: Mr. Gregory J. Morrow, Vice President and Chief
Legal Officer of Contessa Premium Foods, Inc., +1-310-832-8000, ext. 2189,
GMorrow@Contessa.com Web Site: http://www.contessa.com