Thai manufacturer sues California distributor of high-end scanners. Alter-ego issues. $310,000. Los Angeles County.


American distributor of high-tech equipment doesn't pay the Thai manufacturer.

The Case

  • Case Name: Atiz Innovation Company Limited v. Nicholas Warnock, et al.
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / 19LBCV00104
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, May 10, 2021
  • Date Action was Filed: Thursday, February 14, 2019
  • Type of Case: Breach of Contract
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Mark C. Kim
  • Plaintiffs:
    Atiz Innovation Company Limited
  • Defendants:
    Nicholas Warnock.
    Atiz Innovation, Inc.
  • Type of Result: Bench Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $310,038.96, including prejudgment interest, plus court costs and attorney fees, if any.
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    Contractual damages of $220,874.78 and pre-judgment interest of $89,164.18; award was jointly and severally against the corporate and individual defendants.

  • Economic Damages:

    $310,038.96, including prejudgment interest.

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 2 days

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:
  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Foldenauer Law Group, APLC by Sean M. Foldenauer and Danwill D. Schwender, San Diego.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Law Offices of Jeff A Mann by Jeff Mann, Los Angeles.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff, Atiz Innovation Company Limited, is a company located in Thailand. It manufactures and distributes high-end book scanners used to digitize books by libraries, universities and governmental agencies worldwide.

    From 2015 to 2018 defendant Atiz Innovation, Inc., a California Corporation, distributed plaintiff's products in North America but failed to pay invoices from the manufacturer, as promised. Plaintiff brought an action against defendant Atiz Innovation, Inc. for breach of contract and common counts. Plaintiff also named defendant Nicholas Warnock, CEO of the company, seeking to "pierce the corporate veil" based on a theory of alter ego.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff contended the defendants should be jointly and severally liable under alter ego doctrine.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant claimed products received were damaged. In the alternative, defendants argued only the corporate entity defendant should be liable.

Additional Notes

The court considered the facts and evidence and concluded the alter ego doctrine will apply, thereby piercing the corporate veil and assessing liability on individually named defendant, Nicholas Warnock "aka Nick Warnock." Defendant Nick Warnock is best known for his role as a quarterfinalist on Season 1 of the reality television show, "The Apprentice,"  which starred former President Donald Trump. According to the Farmer's Insurance website, he is now a Farmer's Agent in San Pedro.

In his decision Judge Kim rejected defendants’ legal arguments and questioned Nicholas Warnock’s credibility.