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U.S. District Court Issues $11.9M Verdict in Favor of Aircraft Charter

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Press Release
February 5, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA – Mona Hanna, Chair of the Litigation Department at Michelman & Robinson, LLP and lead counsel for the plaintiff in Western Air Charter, Inc., dba Jet Edge International v. Schembari et al., won a significant jury verdict last week on behalf of Jet Edge – $11,903,000 in all. The case (no. 18-CV07361 filed on January 18, 2017) was venued in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Jet Edge, a private aircraft charter and management company, sued its former Assistant Director of Operations (Paul Schembari) for breach of an employment agreement and breach of his duty of loyalty. Additionally, Jet Edge sued Schembari and his affiliated corporate entities – Cosa di Famiglia Holdings, LLC, ACP Jet Charters, Inc., and Phenix Jet International – for intentional interference with contractual relations. All of the various causes of action stemmed from Schembari having secretly plotted for nearly a year to form his own competing company and steal Jet Edge customers.

After a seven-day trial, presided over by the Honorable Jesus G .Bernal, the jury found Schembari liable for breach of contract and breach of his duty of loyalty, and determined that all named defendants were on the hook for intentional interference with contractual relations. Compensatory damages in the amount of $4,603,000 and $7,300,000 in punitive damages were awarded.

Hanna, whose trial team included Michelman lawyers Robert Estrin and Jesse Krompier, was thrilled with the result. She said, “this case is not just a big win for Jet Edge, it’s also a victory for any employer who places a premium on employee loyalty and fair competition.” Hanna also noted that in the wake of its success against Schembari and company, “Jet Edge is more energized than ever in its pursuit of a related matter filed against Tokyo-based Sojitz Corporation, which organized a competing venture to appropriate Jet Edge’s Asian business operations.” That case is currently pending.

About Michelman & Robinson, LLP

Michelman & Robinson, LLP is a national law firm headquartered in Los Angeles, with branch offices in Orange County (California), San Francisco, Chicago and New York City. M&R represents clients in complex litigation, transactional and regulatory matters spanning a range of industries, including Advertising & Digital Media, Banking & Financial Services, Health Care, Hospitality, Insurance, and Retail & Apparel. For more information, please visit www.mrllp.com.

About Jet Edge International

Jet Edge International is a leader in full-service global private aviation, specializing in Gulfstream jets. As an integrated large-cabin operator and maintenance provider, Jet Edge offers aircraft owners full-service aircraft management. Further, individual charter clients and corporations enjoy 365-day-a-year access to one of the most diverse and luxurious aircraft fleets in the world. Jet Edge has also earned the world’s highest safety accreditations, including the prestigious IS-BAO Stage 3, Wyvern Wingman, and ARGUS Platinum. Managed by a leadership team with wide-ranging experience in commercial and private aviation operations, Jet Edge delivers excellence in aircraft management, charter concierge services, sales and acquisitions, and maintenance. More information can be found at www.flyjetedge.com.