Jury Orders Former Employees Michelangelo Delfino and Mary Day to Pay Varian Damages for Defaming and Harassing Company Managers and Their Families
PALO ALTO, Calif., Dec 18, 2001 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Varian Medical Systems, Inc. (NYSE:VAR) and Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates (NASDAQ:VSEA) have won a major jury verdict before the Santa Clara County Superior Court today in an Internet defamation and harassment case filed against former employees Michelangelo Delfino and Mary Day. The jury verdict in Varian v. Delfino, 780187, followed a six week trial. The jury awarded Varian Medical Systems, Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates, Inc., and two of their managers $775,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. In addition, Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Jack Komar, who presided over the case, issued an injunction that prohibits Delfino and Day from continuing to post defamatory and harassing statements on the Internet.
The jury of eight women and four men found unanimously that Delfino and Day acted with malice, fraud, and oppression through some 14,000 Internet postings on 100 message boards and their own web site since 1998 when Delfino was terminated and Day resigned from research positions with Varian Associates. In these messages, Delfino and Day falsely accused various members of Varian management of being homophobic, discriminating against pregnant women, having sexual affairs, and secretly videotaping employees while in office restrooms. Delfino and Day were also charged with impersonating Varian managers on Internet message boards.
"We are thrilled with this result," said Lynne Hermle, a partner in Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, which represented Varian in this case. "Delfino and Day have terrorized and threatened Varian managers and their families. It is a relief that this campaign of defamation and harassment must stop now. Both the judge and the jury have made it clear that the Internet is not a safe haven for defamation."
The Orrick team who worked on the case, led by Lynne Hermle, included Matthew Poppe and Robert Linton. The team received help before the trial from attorneys Joe Liburt and Pete McMahon. Varian staff attorneys on the case were Mary Rotunno, corporate counsel, and Joseph Phair, vice president and general counsel.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is an international law firm of more than 600 lawyers with offices in London, Los Angeles, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Singapore, Tokyo, and Washington D.C.
Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates is the leading producer of ion implantation equipment used in the manufacture of semiconductors. The company is headquartered in Gloucester, Mass., and operates worldwide. Varian Semiconductor maintains a web site at www.vsea.com. The information contained in the company's web site is not incorporated by reference into this release, and the web site address is included in this release as an inactive textual reference only.
Varian Medical Systems, Inc., (NYSE:VAR) of Palo Alto, Calif., is the world's leading manufacturer of integrated cancer therapy systems as well as X-ray tubes and flat-panel sensors for imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 2,570 people and reported sales of $774 million in its most recent fiscal year ended September 28, 2001.
Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto
Spencer Sias, 650/424-5782
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Media Contact: 415/773-4212
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