LTL Wins Jury Verdict & Punitive Damages for Ousted Shareholder

LTL Attorneys obtained a verdict awarding 100% of damages sought plus punitive damages from a federal jury on behalf of acclaimed chemist and entrepreneur Dr. Anton Toutov on September 15, 2023. This phase of the litigation addressed fiduciary duty claims by Dr. Toutov against former officers, directors, and majority shareholders of KorvaLabs, a company Dr. Toutov joined in its infancy and helped build over four years. The jury delivered the verdict after just ninety minutes of deliberation following a week-long trial in the Central District of California.

“We are thrilled to have delivered this outstanding result that recognizes the importance of Dr. Toutov’s contributions and basic fairness,” said LTL partner and lead trial counsel Prashanth Chennakesavan. “Helping entrepreneurs like Dr. Toutov get just compensation for the work they put in to set up successful companies is among the most rewarding things we do.”

The LTL trial team comprised Chennakesavan, Caleb Liang, and Jared Ruocco.

In 2015, as he was completing his PhD from Caltech, Dr. Toutov signed on with two of his friends and business associates to become a 20% owner of KorvaLabs, a startup that hoped to develop into a licensed clinical testing laboratory. After joining the venture, Dr. Toutov became the company’s Chief Science Officer and played an instrumental role in (among other things) helping build the company’s lab and secure its clinical testing accreditation, which proved to be the company’s most significant assets. Despite four years of work, Dr. Toutov’s co-founders ultimately pushed him out of the company and refused to share millions in distributions (including from an ultimate sale of the company). Defendants argued that Dr. Toutov was never a shareholder or officer of the company and was not entitled to anything. The jury disagreed, awarding $7.8 million in damages. Earlier in the litigation, following a successful summary judgment ruling, Dr. Toutov reached settlement on separate claims against corporate defendants.

The case is Anton Toutov v. Curative Inc., et al., case number 2:20-cv-11284-ODW, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.