Arbitrator Awards Former Cryo-Cell CEO
Mercedes Walton, the former CEO and chairwoman of Cryo-Cell International, is the winner of an arbitration claim against her former employer. Arbitrators gave Walton an interim award in the amount of $1.1 million as a result of her claim that her employment agreement was breached and that she was the victim of defamation. Her original claim sought damages in the amount of $5 million, which she initiated after she was forced out of the company by a proxy fight in 2011.
Walton was awarded $981,000 in lost wages and $100,000 for her claim regarding defamation. The company’s insurance policy will be picking up the tab for the defamation award. Cryo-Cell, a cord blood bank in the private sector, certainly hit stumbling blocks as a result of this case. The company incurred legal fees of approximately $219,000 for the case that stretched over the course of three months. The company released a statement putting the blame on this case and one other case for the reason that the company was in the red for the current quarter. The second case facing the company regarded abandoned patents and trademarks, and together these led to significant company losses.
Cryo-Cell reported net losses of $244,000 for the three-month period that ended on May 31. The company also suffered significant losses in the same quarter the year before, with losses of $3.2 million. The use of arbitration in these types of private cases has been growing and included in more employment contracts, because it allows employers and employees the flexibility to obtain legal decisions and assistance for their disputes without having to enter the courtroom and experience even higher expenses and long delays. The process, when led by experienced arbitrators, can help to achieve resolution to disputes efficiently and effectively.