Zest Lawyers Want $46M from Walmart


Zest Lawyers Want $46M from Walmart
(Zest)

The attorneys representing the company that recently received a $115 million judgment against Walmart want the Bentonville retailer to cover their fees.

The amount the plaintiffs’ attorneys think is fair?

$46 million.

Last month, a federal jury in Little Rock found Walmart took trade secrets for technologies used to manage the supply chain for fresh produce and meats from Ecoark Holdings Inc., formerly of Rogers and now of San Antonio, Texas, and its subsidiary, Zest Labs.

The jury found that Walmart’s misappropriation of Zest Labs’ trade secrets was willful and malicious and awarded $65 million in actual damages and $50 million in punitive damages.

“Because Walmart’s misappropriation was found to be willful and malicious by the jury, Zest Labs should be awarded its reasonable attorneys’ fees,” its attorneys said in a court filing in the case in U.S. District Court in Little Rock.

Zest Labs’ attorneys agreed to take the case on a contingency fees basis of 40% of the final recovery, which would be $46 million.

But if U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr. finds that amount unreasonable, the plaintiffs’ attorneys asked that Moody award them fees based on their hours billed and the reasonable rates for all its attorneys, which would total $13.5 million.

That breaks down to $7.7 million for Vinson & Elkins LLP of San Francisco and $5.6 million for Williams Simons & Landis of Austin, Texas, with attorneys at the Little Rock firm McDaniel Wolff & Benca receiving $206,000.

Oh, and they are also asking for Walmart to cover other costs in the case, which were $1.9 million, according to the plaintiffs. The case produced 103,944 documents totaling nearly 475,000 pages.

“This case is not the average commercial dispute,” the plaintiffs’ attorneys said in their motion.

Walmart was represented by at least 13 attorneys from three different law firms: Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom of New York, Winston & Strawn of Houston and Quattlebaum Grooms & Tull of Little Rock.

As of Thursday afternoon, Walmart’s attorneys hadn’t responded to the motion for attorneys’ fees.

But it said in court filings that the plaintiffs’ request for $1.9 million for costs shouldn’t be paid because not all of it was recoverable.

Walmart’s attorneys said that Moody should award Zest no more than $120,500.

And it appears the case won’t be over anytime soon.

Walmart said in its filings that post-judgment motions and an appeal will follow.