A Chicago telecom services company has agreed to pay $1.6 million to its Tarrytown equipment supplier weeks before their legal dispute was scheduled for trial in federal court in White Plains.
U.S. District Judge Phillip M. Halpern had already ruled that Westcon-Comstor Americas had established that CCC Technologies Inc. had breached a contract. A bench trial was to begin on March 20 to determine just how much CCC would have to pay in “an issue riddled with factual disputes.”
Westcon, founded in 1985 by Thomas Dolan, Philip Raffiani and Roman Michalowski to sell ethernet services from a garage, was sold in 2017 for $2.18 billion to Synnex Corp. Now the Westcon-Comstor division in Tarrytown sells business technology worldwide.
CCC Technologies was founded in 1984 as Chicago Consolidated Communications to provide telecom services in the Midwest.
The companies struck a deal in 2015 by which Westcom would sell equipment to CCC that CCC would resell to its customers.
In 2017, CCC decided it would no longer buy goods from Westcon.
At that point, according to court records, Westcon had sold more than $7.4 million in products and services to CCC. Westcon claimed it was still owed nearly $1.1 million. CCC said it owed about $365,0000.
Westcon sued CCC in 2019 in U.S. District Court, White Plains, for breach of contract and conversion of property. It demanded $1,085,320 in actual damages and $2 million in punitive damages.
Both companies filed motions for summary judgment.
Judge Halpern expressed annoyance with both sides in a Sept. 12 opinion for not providing affidavits in support of exhibits, as required by court rules.
“Judges are not like pigs hunting for truffles buried in briefs or the record,” he said, in citing a 2015 court opinion.
And in his own words he said, “The parties should not expect any court to rummage through a muddled mass of papers like those here which were, for the most part, improperly filed on this docket.”
But he had enough, as permitted by law, to rule on the motions for summary judgment. He issued a split decision.
He dismissed Westcon’s conversion charge and along with it the demand for punitive damages.
There was confusion on both sides as to how they calculated what was owed, Halpern stated about the demand for punitive damages, and “there was nothing that would indicate any malicious refusal or ill-intent on CCC’s part to not pay what was owed.”
But on the breach of contract charge he said there was no dispute that CCC had agreed to a computer reseller deal and still owed something.
The issue of damages “remains open and unresolved,” he said, and “that issue will, consequently, proceed to a bench trial.”
CCC offered to settle the dispute for $1,622,381 on Feb. 7. Westcon-Comstor accepted the offer on Feb. 21. Judge Halpern signed off on March 6.