HCP and Ventas Lawsuit Fight Continues, Neither Side Backing Down

HCP (NYSE:HCP) said it filed a petition for rehearing before the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in connection with its ruling affirming a 2009 verdict, where the company must pay approximately $102 million in damages to Ventas (NYSE: VTR).

HCP, a real estate investment trust (REIT) that invests primarily in real estate serving the healthcare industry in the United States, said it’s requesting the court to dismiss the case or begin a new trial.

In response to the petition, Ventas said that it will “vigorously oppose the request for rehearing.”  The lawsuit stems from Ventas’ acquisition of Sunrise Senior Living REIT in 2007, where it claims HCP interfered with the transaction.  Prior to the Sixth Circuit ruling, a jury blocked Ventas from seeking punitive damages against HCP for its conduct.


However, because the Sixth Circuit determined that “a reasonable jury could conclude that HCP engaged in its fraudulent conduct with the intention of inflicting harm on Ventas,” engaged in its fraudulent conduct with the intention of inflicting harm on Ventas,” the three judge panel also ruled that Ventas is entitled to seek punitive damages against HCP for its conduct.

“In light of the evidence presented at trial, we believe it was error for the district court to prevent the jury from considering an award of punitive damages,” said court documents. “Accordingly, we reverse the decision of the district court as to punitive damages, and remand with instructions that the matter proceed to trial on the single issue of punitive damages.”


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