Plaintiffs receive $350K each in Condere suit

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 24, 2001

An Adams County jury awarded three plaintiffs $350,000 each in a civil lawsuit involving Condere Corp. and two former employees of Armstrong Tire & Rubber Co.

The jury voted 10-2 to award the verdict – a combination of actual and punitive damages – to Thomas Young, Jerry Moon and Sylvia Barnett (formerly Sylvia Moon).

Young said the verdict is much larger than he expected.

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&uot;To be honest with you I was looking for around $50,000 a piece for both actual and punitive so it was a real nice surprise,&uot; Young said.

The lawsuit dates back to 1988 and involves comments made by the Moons and Young about Condere Corp. after it purchased Armstrong Tire & Rubber Co.

The company responded by filing a defamation suit against the plaintiffs, which was later dismissed.

Moon, Barnett and Young in turn sued for malicious prosecution and for violation of their First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

&uot;(The) First Amendment gets protected,&uot; said Jack W. Harang, attorney for the plaintiffs, about the verdict.

The jury deliberated about one hour Friday before awarding each plaintiff $250,000 in actual damages.

They then returned to the courtroom to hear arguments in favor of punitive damages.

The defense argued that the jury had already sent a powerful enough message by awarding actual damages totaling $750,000.

The jury then deliberated for about 15 minutes before voting 10-2 to award each plaintiff $100,000 in punitive damages.

Because Young expects the case to be appealed, he does not expect to see any of the money for several years.

&uot;I’m going to celebrate when I have the check in my hand,&uot; Young said.