Judgment Against Walmart Rolled Back

Judgment Against Walmart Rolled Back
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Remember last year when a technology company received a $115 million judgment against Walmart Inc.?

Well, it now appears that the judgment will be $5 million less.

If you recall, following the finding by the jury in U.S. District Court in Little Rock, the Bentonville retailer asked for a new trial in the case filed by Ecoark Holdings Inc., formerly of Rogers and now of San Antonio, Texas, and its subsidiary, Zest Labs.

After the 10-day trial, the jury found Walmart willfully and maliciously misappropriated Zest’s trade secrets, among other things. Walmart filed its post-trial motions objecting to the verdict.

The retailer asked for a judgment as a matter of law on several issues including an assertion that the damages awarded to Zest by the jury on Zest’s contract claim were duplicative.

U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr. agreed with Walmart in the order filed June 15. Moody found the $5 million in damages awarded to Zest by the jury on Zest’s contract claim were redundant with the damages awarded to Zest on a misappropriation claim.

Moody also is considering Walmart’s motion for limited post-trial discovery on the issue of the timing of when the plaintiffs knew about Walmart’s patent application.

According to the order, Walmart alleged that Zest knew about Walmart’s patent application before it was published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, but Zest didn’t try to stop it.

“Walmart argues that this new evidence is critical because Plaintiffs had a duty to protect its trade secrets and did not notify Walmart or the USPTO prior to publication that it believed the … patent application contained Zest’s trade secrets,” Moody said in the order.

Moody has asked the plaintiffs for additional documents related to the issue, and those have to be delivered by Tuesday.

Stay tuned.

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