Walmart Still Fighting to Reverse $115M Verdict

Walmart Still Fighting to Reverse $115M Verdict
Walmart, the world's largest retailer, is seeking to get a new trial after revealing new evidence that casts scrutiny on a $115 million verdict in a trade secrets case. (Shutterstock)

Walmart Inc. has picked up another legal victory in its quest to have a $115 million judgment reversed.

If you recall, way back in April 2021, a federal jury in Little Rock ruled in favor of Ecoark Holdings Inc., formerly of Rogers and now of San Antonio, and a subsidiary, Zest Labs Inc., which had accused Walmart of maliciously taking Zest’s trade secrets for technologies used to manage the supply chain for fresh produce and meats.

But after the jury’s decision, the Bentonville retailer said that while examining Zest’s attorneys’ billing records it discovered new evidence related to Walmart’s patent application that could have changed the outcome of the trial — and a federal judge agreed. 

Walmart said in court filings that Zest did nothing to prevent the application going public. Zest had accused Walmart of using the patent information and disclosing it. 

In June, U.S. District Court Judge James M. Moody Jr. ordered Zest’s attorneys to produce about 50 more documents to determine when Zest’s attorneys knew about the patent application, the number of attorneys involved, and the significance the attorneys placed on the information. 

But before handing over the documents, Zest’s legal team asked the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to order Moody to stop conducting the post-trial discovery.

At the end of August, the 8th Circuit denied the request, allowing the dispute to go forward in Moody’s court. 

Following the 8th Circuit decision, Zest wanted Moody to rule that two dozen of the company’s documents should not be redesignated from “highly confidential” to “confidential” because they contain “attorney work-product,” according to Moody’s order.

Moody ruled on Nov. 2 that the documents should be redesignated as “confidential,” because they don’t meet the definition of “highly confidential.”

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