Foley & Lardner LLP announced today that it has secured a favorable outcome for its clients in a Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act (TUTSA) case, precluding a bid for $42 million in damages by the plaintiff.
The jury awarded $1.7 million in TUTSA damages, however, in doing so apportioned 95% of the responsibility for the damages on a settling party and 5% on one single individual defendant. Foley’s strategy to push responsibility for damages on the settling parties resulted in a substantial decrease of the TUTSA individual damages award and a reduction of exemplary damages to $100,000. A conspiracy claim will be appealed.
Houston-based DistributionNOW had filed suit for anti-competitive activity against 13 individuals associated with a competing company, Permian Pump & Valve, including 12 former employees of Odessa Pumps represented by Foley, a business previously sold in 2015 to Distribution NOW, a supplier of energy and industrial products. The 12 former employees were not subject to non-competition or non-solicitation contracts.
Partner Rachel Powitzky Steely, who led Foley’s all-women trial team in its defense of the 12 individual former Odessa Pumps employees, said of the verdict, “In a major victory for our clients, DNOW’s bid for $42 million in damages was denied by a Fort Bend County jury. The small damage award will likely be appealed, and we believe a successful appeal of the damages will be forthcoming.”
Foley’s trial team also included Partner Jessica Mason, Senior Counsel Katherine Harrington, Associate Taylor Appling, and Paralegal Gaylyn Kinsley.
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