On May 3, 2002, Benezra and Culver obtained one of the largest employment law judgments ever entered in Colorado for their client. In Drake v. TalMor Capital Management, L.L.C. and Edmund Melhado, the Plaintiff, Daniel Drake, brought claims against the Defendants for breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, and violations of the Colorado Wage Act. Mr. Drake is an investment analyst and portfolio manager who was successfully employed in Kansas. The Defendants, TalMor Capital Management, LLC, and its owner, Edmund Melhado, induced Mr. Drake to relocate to Boulder, Colorado to accept employment with TalMor in December of 1998. Mr. Drake accepted this employment based on fraudulent misrepresentations by the Defendants regarding TalMor’s assets under management and the potential income to be derived by Mr. Drake from these assets. These misrepresentations were also included in a written contract entered into between TalMor and Mr. Drake on December 10, 1998.
Once Mr. Drake began working for TalMor, it became clear to him that the representations made by the Defendants were false, and that his earning potential was substantially lower than indicated by the Defendants. Additionally, Mr. Drake was denied bonus payments that the Defendants were obligated to make pursuant to Mr. Drake’s employment contract. Mr. Drake left the employment of TalMor and brought suit to recover the income he lost resulting from the Defendants’ fraudulent misrepresentations.
After a five-day trial in Boulder District Court, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Mr. Drake on all claims. Thel verdict totaled almost $2,900,000. Compensatory damages of $1,800,000 were awarded, with $1,000,000 allocated against Defendant Melhado and $800,000 allocated against Defendant TalMor. Additionally, an award of $1,000,000 in punitive damages was awarded against Defendant Melhado. $99,296 in unpaid wages and statutory penalty were also awarded against TalMor. By petition to the Court, Mr. Drake was also entitled to approximately $294,000 in prejudgment interest and $278,113 in attorney fees and costs.