The two litigants in a historic lawsuit against the Pacific Lumber Company celebrated victory last night at a South Broadway drive-thru window.
Chris Maranto and Richard Wilson, who had sought damages totaling more than $1 billion in the case, settled for two McDonald’s hamburger Happy Meals, one with no mustard and extra pickle, the other with apple slices instead of fries and a super-sized beverage selection.
“They fought us on the pickle chip like there was no tomorrow,” Maranto said. “They were like, ‘What? Extra pickle? You think this is Burger King?’ But Rich and I just hung in there and proved that when a cause is just, you really can have it your way.”
The pair had alleged that the Scotia-based timber company used faulty computer modeling and hardwood inventory data in support of its Sustained Yield Plan submitted as part of the 1999 Headwaters deal.
Maranto said they had hoped to make enough off the case to get two #6 Value Meals instead—“and I think with another couple or three years of litigation we would have been there,” he said. “It was that close.”
Wilson, however, said he had no regrets about the settlement.
“From where I sit,” he said, in the front passenger seat of Maranto’s minivan, “this was a solid win. We made six dollars more than the DA got for his lawsuit, and the agreement allows us to sue some more people later for dessert.”
The suit was filed under state and federal whistle-blower statutes, which would have allowed the men to collect as much as $500 million and a Biggie Fries at Wendy’s.