Judge Salinger’s decision turned on the procedural history of the case.
At trial, some or all of the defendants were found liable on claims for conversion, breach of the duty of loyalty, and civil conspiracy. Governo was awarded $900,000 in damages, calculated based on the defendants’ net profits. None of the defendants were found liable for unfair or deceptive trade practices in violation of Chapter 93A.
Governo appealed certain of Judge Salinger’s instructions and posttrial rulings. But Governo did not appeal the evidentiary ruling barring expert testimony on royalty damages—even though the claimed royalty figure was more than three times the damages award.
After the SJC’s remand, Governo moved to admit royalty-damages testimony and argued—for the first time—that Judge Salinger had erred by excluding the royalty-damages testimony before the first trial.
Judge Salinger ruled that Governo “waived any argument that the Court erred in ruling that reasonable royalty damages are unavailable under the circumstances of this case.” “In other words,” Judge Salinger wrote, “the Court’s prior ruling on this issue is the law of the case for purposes of the second trial, because Governo could have but failed to challenge it on appeal after the first trial.”
Suffolk Superior Court
Docket Number: 1684CV03949-BLS2
Case Name: Governo Law Firm LLC v. CMBG3 Law LLC, et al.
Date of Decision: March 11, 2022
Judge: Judge Salinger