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Bahamas Surgery Center, LLC v. Kimberly-Clark Corporation

United States District Court, C.D. California

May 15, 2017

BAHAMAS SURGERY CENTER, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
KIMBERLY-CLARK CORPORATION, et. al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

          DOLLY M. GEE UNITED STATES DISTRICT

         The legal claims in this case came before a jury during a nine-day trial that began on March 28, 2017 and concluded on April 7, 2017. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiff Bahamas Surgery Center, LLC and against Defendants Kimberly-Clark Corporation and Halyard Health, Inc. based on the claim of concealment. The jury awarded Plaintiff and the class $3, 889, 327 in compensatory damages, prejudgment interest, and $350 million in punitive damages against Kimberly-Clark. The jury also awarded Plaintiff and the class $261, 445 in compensatory damages, prejudgment interest, and $100 million in punitive damages against Halyard Health. See Doc. ## 501, 503 (verdict forms).

         In addition to this legal claim, Bahamas brought an equitable claim against Defendants under California's Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”). As to this remaining equitable claim, the Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Rule 52 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         I.

         FINDINGS OF FACT[1]

         This is a class action consisting of the following class members: All entities and natural persons in California who purchased MICROCOOL* Breathable High Performance Surgical Gowns (“MicroCool Gowns”) as end-purchasers from February 12, 2012 and January 11, 2015. See Class Cert. Order at 34 [Doc. # 270]; Amended Final Pretrial Conference Order at 2 [Doc. # 450]. This excludes (a) governmental entities; (b) any person or entity in which any judge, justice, or judicial officer presiding over this matter and members of their immediate families and judicial staff, have any controlling interest; and (c) any partner or employee of Class Counsel. Class Cert. Order at 34 n.15.

         Bahamas bases its equitable class claim under the UCL on the same underlying facts as the concealment claim that it presented to the jury, i.e., that Defendants concealed material information from Plaintiff and the class relating to a defect in the MicroCool Gowns and that, as a result, Plaintiff and the class overpaid for the gowns. Given that the verdict forms did not require the jury to make any express findings as to why it found for Bahamas on the sole legal claim, the Court looks to the jury instructions and the jury's verdict to discern the jury's implicit determinations.

         The Court instructed the jury that for Bahamas to prevail on the concealment claim, it must prove the following:

1. That Defendants disclosed some facts to Plaintiff but intentionally failed to disclose other facts, making the disclosure deceptive;
or
That Defendants intentionally failed to disclose certain facts that were known only to them and Defendants knew that Plaintiff did not know or could not have reasonably discovered those facts;
or
That Defendants actively concealed important facts from Plaintiff or prevented Plaintiff from discovering those facts;
2. That Plaintiff did not know of the concealed facts;
3. That Defendants intended to deceive Plaintiff by ...

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