On November 28, Plews Shadley Racher and Braun (PSRB) attorney Frederick D. Emhardt led a team that obtained one of the largest jury verdicts in Indiana history on behalf of his client Dr. Rick Sasso.
Dr. Sasso is a renowned spine surgeon and inventor of spinal medical devices. He grew up in Warsaw, Indiana, and attended Wabash College and IU School of Medicine. He is now a professor of orthopedic surgery there. After finishing his training, he began work with an upstart spinal implant company, Sofamor Danek, with its roots in Warsaw and Memphis, Tennessee. Sofamor Danek was merged into the largest medical device company in the world, Medtronic.
Over nearly a decade, Dr. Sasso assigned several inventions and know-how to Medtronic in return for royalties on the sales of various products. Beginning in 2011, his long standing relationship with Medtronic began to fall apart. In 2013, after Medtronic wrongfully stopped royalty payments, he was forced to sue Medtronic for unpaid royalties. There were two contracts at issue in the trial. One related to the Vertex Reconstruction System, which is a posterior cervical screw rod fixation system used to stabilize the cervical spine. The second contract related to a screw delivery system that is now used around the world as a way to implant spinal products in a minimally invasive manner.
The four-week trial concluded after a Marshall County jury deliberated for six hours and awarded Dr. Sasso the full asking amount of $112,452,269 in unpaid royalties (and interest) on those contracts.
This was the result of an incredible team effort by Mr. Emhardt, with the tireless help of PSRB associate Ryan Leagre, and paralegal Krista Cox, co- trial counsel Joseph Williams of Riley Williams and Piatt, LLC, patent counsel John Bradshaw of Bradshaw Law LLC, sage local counsel Jere Humphrey of Wyland Humphrey & Clevenger LLP, and jury trial consultant, Amy Pardieck of Perceptual Litigation, LLC. Dr. Sasso and his wife April attended every day of the trial.