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Louis Davidson

Louis  Davidson
Status: Deceased

The case that brought Louis Davidson to the attention of the Inner Circle was his 1973 case against Illinois Power Company where his plaintiff was electrocuted when a crane boom came into contact with a power line. Louis received a verdict of $2.5 million in that case on behalf of his client.

But the most well-known case Louis brought was a long-fought battle on behalf of Peter Roberts against Sears Roebuck & Company. When Roberts was an 18-year-old clerk in a Sears store, he invented a socket wrench with a quick release feature that allows users to change sockets with one hand. He filled out a "suggestion" form and sent it and a prototype of the wrench to Sears headquarters in Chicago. Behind the scenes, Sears did tests that showed the design to have enormous sales and profit potential. But Sears told Roberts that his invention really wasn't new. The upshot was that in July 1965, Roberts, unaware of any possible misrepresentations, assigned his patent rights to Sears in exchange for a royalty of 2 cents per wrench - up to a maximum of $10,000. Within days after the agreement was signed by Roberts, who had a high school education and no business experience, Sears started to make 44,000 quick-release socket wrenches a week. By 1975, it had sold more than 19 million.

Louis Davidson sued Sears on Roberts' behalf. During the trial, economic expects testifying for Roberts estimated Sear's profits on the wrenches so have been $44 million during the 11 1/2-year period covered by the suit. The initial litigation brought Roberts $1 million which was paid by Sears. But Davidson wanted that to be a mere down payment to David by Goliath so he asked the judge to restore his client's patent rights and to award him the profits Sears has made from the start - the $44 million plus an estimated $8 million a year since Dec. 31, 1976. By that time, Sears had sold 6 million more wrenches, for a total of 25 million. The judge ruled for Roberts - that Sears must reassign both the American and Canadian patent rights
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