$15 mil verdict for little guy puts Home Depot in a fix


The father of Michael Powell, the inventor who won a $15 million jury decision against Home Depot last month for stealing his safety-saw patent, said the case probably won't sway consumers to shop elsewhere. But it shows that underdogs can triumph once in a while.

"It reminds me of David and Goliath and the Bible," Lamar Powell told WalletPop on Friday.

In this story the Goliath of Home Depot will survive -- after it appeals or perhaps faces triple the damages if Powell's lawyers have their way. The determination that the home improvement giant willfully ripped off Powell's "Safe Hands" prototype leaves open the possibility. The verdict also threw a forceful jab -- not a knockout blow -- to the Home Depot's image.

"They may lose a few people, and people will go and get the best buy they can," Lamar Powell said. "I don't know if it will make a difference. To some it might."

Michael Powell, a married 52-year-old, appears to be keeping a low profile in his small North Carolina town since the verdict was announced in a West Palm Beach, Fla., courtroom on Feb. 24. He didn't return a phone message left by WalletPop. He's trying to move on with his life, his father said, adding that religious faith helped carry his son through the six-year legal battle.