Remember back in April when a startup company received a $115 million judgment against Walmart Inc.?
Well, U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr. last month put the monetary judgment on hold “until further notice by the Court.”
If you recall, the 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.
It’s difficult to tell from the docket what’s holding up the judgment; several of the posttrial motions have been filed under seal. If you recall, a number of the motions filed before the two-week trial began in late March were filed under seal as well. A law professor told us that filing under seal is pretty rare, but is allowed for certain types of confidential information.
But it looks like by allowing the judgment to be stayed, Moody is letting some of the Bentonville retailer’s allegations of discovery misconduct play out.
The jury found that Walmart misappropriated Zest Labs’ trade secrets and awarded it $60 million. The jury also awarded Zest $5 million for breach of a 2015 nondisclosure agreement. The jury added another $50 million in damages to punish Walmart.
“We believe the jury’s verdict is excessive, not supported by the facts and should be set aside,” Randy Hargrove, a Walmart spokesman, told Arkansas Business in a statement at the time of the verdict.
The plaintiffs were represented by Scott Richardson of the Little Rock firm McDaniel Wolff & Benca, and the law firms Williams Simons & Landis of Austin, Carmel Milazzo & DiChiara of New York and Robins Kaplan LLP of Minneapolis.