LOS ANGELES -- Strategic Partners Inc., a distributor of medical apparel, successfully defended itself against a countersuit, winning $520,000 in reimbursement for attorney fees.

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Judge R. Gary Klausner made the ruling after SPI faced a countersuit from Vestagen Protective Technologies Inc., a medical technology company.

Vestagen sued SPI in September, alleging SPI breached the agreement to protect trade secrets after the two companies talked about working together. 

"Companies must think long and hard before prosecuting breach of contract actions that are without merit, as doing so exposes them to significant awards of attorney's fees, which is the case here," sid Mona Hanna, SPI's lead counsel in the lawsuit. "We are pleased that Judge Klausner not only saw through Vestagen's claims but also refused to allow them to pursue a losing case without consequence."

The conflict between the two companies dates back to 2016. SPI first sued Vestagen, alleging the company made misleading claims about the pathogen-killing ability of its medical scrubs. In September, Vestagen was cleared of the false advertising claim brought by Strategic Partners. 

Vestagen then countersued, which failed and resulted in Vestagen being ordered to pay reimbursement for SPI's attorney's fees. SPI originally was seeking $1.1 million in attorney fees, but the court determined the reasonable rate is $520,000. 

"It's unfortunate to have to defend against litigation that's totally unjustified," said SPI Chief Executive Officer Michael Singer. "For nearly a quarter-century we have built and operated Strategic Partners on the values of honesty, integrity and fairness. Health care workers and medical institutions know us and our brands, and depend on our products to help them perform their jobs in comfort and safety."

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