INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY WINNER

Larry L. Coats
Coats & Bennett PLLC, Cary

I was raised on a tobacco farm. From an early age through the 10th grade, I worked it, growing and harvesting tobacco and tending livestock. My uncle operated a grocery store in the country, and during the latter part of high school, I worked for him during summers and after school. I pumped gas, waited on customers, stocked the shelves and swept the floor. The store included a butcher shop, and I became handy at cutting meat and making sausage.

Vita: Born Jan. 29, 1945, in Johnston County; bachelor’s degree from N.C. State University and law degree from UNC Chapel Hill; wife and one child.

Memorable case: Harry Dallas was a pump mechanic from Elizabethtown. While repairing a Warren Rupp pump, he conceived an improvement for it. Harry disclosed it at the request of the company, but Rupp rejected it. Later, however, the company realized its value and incorporated it in its pumps. My partner, David Bennett, and I tried the case. It was my second jury trial and David’s first. The jury returned a verdict of $1 million. On appeal, the 4th Circuit Court sustained liability but reversed on damages. David and I refocused the evidence of damages and, prior to retrial, the case was settled. It’s memorable for two reasons: The outcome was good for Mr. Dallas, and it also taught me a valuable lesson about the importance of having a credible damage theory and the evidence to support it.

Passion: Austin-Healeys.

Heroes: Fred Manley, my ag teacher in high school, had a huge impact on my life. He not only convinced me that I could attend college but that the means for doing so would be available. Then there is my mother. My father died in an automobile accident when I was 8. Under difficult circumstances, she was able to raise me and my two siblings.

Don’t ask him to: Keep my office neat.


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INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

WINNER - Larry L. Coats, Coats & Bennett PLLC, Cary
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