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Jurors Award $107 Million in Fraud Lawsuit

July 28, 1996

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ General Dynamics Corp. must pay $107.4 million to two former employees who claim they weren’t compensated when the aerospace giant sold a business they helped create, a jury decided.

The company was liable for fraud and breach of oral contract in a deal with William Forti and Dolores Blanton, the Superior Court jury found Friday.

Forti, a business development executive, and Blanton, an administrative assistant, worked at General Dynamics’ missile plant in Pomona. Each was awarded $3.7 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.

``This is an entirely just verdict,″ said plaintiffs attorney Don Howarth.

General Dynamics, based in Falls Church, Va., has not said whether it will appeal the verdict.

Forti and Blanton said they agreed in 1990 to start a company for General Dynamics called E-Metrics, which would pursue new computer technology. The company would retain 80 percent control, while Forti and Blanton and five other workers would receive an equity interest.

In 1992 General Dynamics sold E-Metrics and the rest of its Pomona-based missile business to Hughes Aircraft for $500 million without compensating Forti and Blanton, their lawsuit said. The two also lost their jobs in the change of ownership.

The company said it never promised equity interest to Forti and Blanton. Other witnesses testified that oral promises were made.

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