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


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