Flooring dealer Empire Today (Northlake, Ill.) has been ordered by a jury to pay Avon, Mass.-based National Floors Direct (NFD) $500,000 in damages stemming from an unfair business practice suit, according to an NFD release. The case was decided within the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
In December 2008 Empire Today, commonly known as Empire Carpet, filed suit against approximately 20 individuals affiliated with NFD, alleging a variety of unfair business practices. NFD denied the allegations and then filed a counter-suit alleging Empire Today abused the legal process. According to an Empire Today representative, NFD sought damages of nearly $12 million in its counter-suit.
In October 2010, a federal district court jury ruled unanimously in favor of NFD, and since then Empire Today has petitioned the judge to overturn the jury's verdict. In addition, NFD has petitioned the district court to find the Empire Today violated Massachusetts' own deceptive business practices laws.
"We were confident from the day Empire filed suit that the company's claims were totally untrue and that Empire had sued just to try and put us out of business," said NFD President Aaron Rosenberg.
"We are pleased with the ultimate outcome as our goal was to protect consumers from what we believe to have been false and misleading advertising claims and trademark confusion," said Empire Today CEO Steve Silvers. "Specifically, since filing the lawsuit, National Floors Direct changed many of the marketing and advertising strategies about which Empire complained. While we lost some of our initial jury claims, both parties now have claims that are to be decided before the judge before the case can proceed to appeal. We remain confident in a successful outcome of the legal proceedings."