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From the Editor: Last December a federal court jury handed down a decision that included what may well have been one of the largest monetary penalties in history in a case in which no personal injury was at issue. The suit was brought by Independent Living Aids (ILA) against Maxi-Aids, two vendors in the blindness field. Preparing a report on this important verdict will be a massive undertakingthe transcript of the trial is over 3,400 pages. For the moment Monitor readers must be content with a press release announcing the bare facts circulated by ILA. Here it is:
Jury Decides in ILA's Favor in Lawsuit
and Grants $2,400,000.06 Verdict Against Maxi-Aids
In an action brought in Federal Court by Independent Living Aids (ILA), a jury of five women and four men decided unanimously that for ten years Maxi-Aids and its owners and officers, Elliott and Mitchell Zaretsky, had willfully infringed on ILA's copyrighted catalogs and its ILA trademark and had engaged in unfair business practices and deceptive advertising. In addition to finding in favor of ILA on two federal counts and two New York State counts, the jury awarded damages of $2,400,000.06, and Federal Judge Arthur D. Spatt advised that he would also consider requiring Maxi-Aids to repay ILA's legal expenses. The six-cent figure was tacked on symbolically, to reflect recognition of ILA's complaint that, within a two-year period, Maxi-Aids had won at least five bids from government agencies for Braille and low-vision watches by beating ILA's bids by six cents.