After three months in court, a jury needed only two days of deliberation before delivering a verdict in favor of corporate giant General Electric (GE) Healthcare and against a local healthcare business. Vitascan – a portable body-scanning company based in Santa Barbara – went out of business in 2003, allegedly because the scanners they leased from GE were unreliable. Rather than being awarded the more than $12 million they sued for, Vitascan must pay GE the $4 million they owe in lease payments on the scanners. Defense attorney Wayne Beaudoin attributed part of GE’s success to contradictions in the testimony of Vitascan owners Dan Parker and James Gerlach, who in pretrial hearings did not always stress problems with the machines, and only later maintained that breakdowns destroyed the business. Parker said he found the verdict baffling, and suggested that GE was able to “rewrite the truth with enough money.” Plaintiffs’ attorney Tom Foley said that the fight isn’t over yet; he will move for a new trial in mid September.
Originally published 12:00 p.m., August 17, 2006
Updated 4:57 p.m., September 18, 2006
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