There has been a fair amount of activity in the DuPont v. Kolon dispute pending in the U.S. Eastern District of Virginia over the past few weeks. On Friday, January 27, 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Payne denied Kolon’s post-trial motions seeking to set aside the $920 million jury trade secret verdict against it last September.
Judge Payne summarily rejected Kolon’s Motions for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict, Motion for Remittitur and Motion for a New Trial through a pair of short orders, links to which can be found below. As DuPont’s post-trial request for punitive damages was addressed last fall (Judge Payne limited the punitive award to $350,000 under Virginia law), the case now appears ready for appeal.
Meanwhile, DuPont and Kolon continue to bitterly fight on other fronts. In a litigation that threatens to become even more acrimonious than the trade secret case, the parties continue to exchange body blows in the remaining antitrust litigation brought by Kolon. When DuPont brought its trade secret case in February 2009, Kolon counterclaimed, asserting that DuPont had monopolized the body armor market through improperly restrictive agreements with its customers. Judge Payne dismissed the claim in 2009 but it was reinstated by the Fourth Circuit.
Alyson Frankel’s “On the Case” Blog has a solid summary of the acrimonious antitrust litigation. Since its reinstatement, Kolon has been sanctioned and moved to disqualify Judge Payne based on his former partnership with DuPont counsel McGuire Woods (links to those pleadings can be found on Alyson’s article). Last week, DuPont filed a Motion for sanctions under Rule 11, arguing that the entire antitrust litigation was baseless and filed for no other reason than to distract DuPont, the Court and the public from Kolon’s misappropriation of DuPont’s Kevlar trade secrets.
Last summer, I likened this case to the East Coast version of the Mattel v. MGA litigation, which has been become the standard-bearer for bare-knuckles, bet-the-company trade secret litigation. Given the developments of the past few weeks, DuPont v. Kolon may become the new champ.