Victor was shocked when he was served with legal papers at his office in northern New Jersey. A business competitor had filed suit against MC, his family-owned firm. The Complaint alleged that MC had used unfair and illegal practices to undermine the competition in the sale of novelty items. MC was a company that prided itself on its business ethics.
The suit filed by SI was brought in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Victor was puzzled, because SI was also a New Jersey corporation. What did Pennsylvania have to do with anything?
As vice-president of MC, Victor moved immediately to contact a New Jersey lawyer who had previously assisted the company in other legal matters. The firm lawyer, however, was not licensed to practice in Pennsylvania, and he recommended that MC retain local counsel. After a brief search on the internet, he found the firm Pinnola & Bomstein and got in touch with attorney Michael S. Bomstein.
Mr. Bomstein explained that there was indeed a serious question as to whether the case belonged in Pennsylvania. At the same time, both MC and SI had done business in Pennsylvania and the local courts could very well decide to keep the case. Bomstein went on to describe the procedures for disputing jurisdiction as well as the time and fees that MC might face.
If the case went back to New Jersey, Pinnola & Bomstein would lose a client and potential fees, but the client would be closer to the court hearing the case. If the case stayed in Pennsylvania, the law firm keep the client and the fees, but it would be less convenient for the client. Bomstein recommended that MC challenge jurisdiction, basing the decision solely on the client's needs.
While the jurisdictional challenge ultimately was not successful, MC elected to proceed aggressively at every stage to defend its reputation and its business practices. SI was claiming that it had created a novel product and that MC unfairly copied the product and sold it for less.
MC contended that the product was not novel. Indeed, SI had no copyright, patent or trademark protection. Moreover, Victor was able to produce trade catalogues showing that similar products had been on the market for years.
Attorney Bomstein patiently tracked down wholesalers who were said to have information that MC had made false or misleading statements about SI's product. But not one of the wholesalers believed that MC had said or done anything improper.
Lawyers on both sides then arranged for their clients to exchange documents related to the claims against MC. SI sought records from MC that would contain a list of MC's customers through the country. Through counsel, however, MC argued successfully that the information should not have to be produced, thereby protecting MC's customer information base.
As the case drew closer to trial, counsel and client worked together to prepare witnesses and exhibits for use in court. They also discussed the possibility of a settlement that would both save MC the expense of any further counsel fees and minimize the company's exposure to a possible verdict in favor of SI.
Finally, MC made a proposal to SI to settle the case on favorable terms and the offer was accepted. After more than a year of hard-fought litigation, the case came to an end, with another client satisfied that Pinnola & Bomstein had represented it well.