A South Carolina court awarded medical device company Revolutions Medical (PINK:RMCP) and its CEO more than $20 million in damages against Phillip Hicks, an online forum commenter who the company accused of "Internet defamation."
Revolutions won $3.6 million in compensatory and $1.5 million in punitive damages, and company chairman & CEO Rondald Wheet won $12 million in compensatory and $3 million in punitive damages, according to a press statement.
Revolutions had accused Hicks of waging a "cyber smear campaign" against the company and its chief executive, and claimed that Hicks intentionally interfered with a DoD grant that Revolutions was slated to receive in September 2010.
According to company documents Hicks, under the user-name "Tazmanian353", had made libelous comments on Yahoo! Finance and Raging Bull online forums alleging that Revolutions was just a "shell company" without legitimate operations or real patents and that CEO Ron Wheet "lied in official documents" and made "fraudulent misleading statements."
Revolutions filed a lawsuit on the grounds that Hicks’ comments were false and defamatory since the company owns patents, both granted and pending, for auto retractable safety syringe and certain medical imaging technology.
In September 2011 Revolutions won a sanction from the South Carolina Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Common Pleas against Hicks based on "his refusal to give deposition testimony, answer interrogatories, produce documents or otherwise comply with his discovery obligations in the litigation," according to a press release. Wheet described the order as a "great victory for our shareholders."