A federal jury in East Texas sentenced Plano-based real estate management software company ResMan to a $ 152 million verdict after it was found that a former customer improperly accessed ResMan software to develop their own competing product with a third party .
On Thursday in federal court in Sherman, the three-person jury of five women ordered two defendants from Houston, client Karya Property Management and software developer Expedien, to pay ResMan $ 32.29 million in damages and $ 120 million in punitive damages. USD to be paid for breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets and unauthorized interference.
The jury heard testimony and arguments for nine days and then deliberated for about two hours before returning their verdict.
The ruling is also a victory for a Houston-based, women-led litigation team at Hogan Lovells who won a high-stakes case when courts across Texas face significant pandemic backlog in litigation.
“It’s important that we keep trying cases, and I hope that with each lawsuit closed, people feel more confident about the courthouse and cases,” said Maria Wyckoff Boyce, Hogan Lovells attorney who led ResMan’s litigation team . “It was very important that we be back in the courtroom in front of a jury as soon as the court told us to try the case again.”
During the trial, the jury heard and saw evidence that Karya and Expedien had improperly accessed ResMan’s system more than 1,000 times without ResMan’s knowledge or permission to create Arya, the name of the competing software. Evidence showing the improper access included recordings of conference calls between the defendants, who analyzed the ResMan system to determine which features in the Arya software should be used.
Although defense attorneys admitted in court that Karya had violated his subscription contract with ResMan, they argued that there had been no misappropriation of trade secrets and that the so-called “trade secrets”, according to lawyers, contained publicly available information.
They also claimed that they developed their software independently without using ResMan’s product.
Karya is a privately held company that manages more than 20,000 residential units in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and Kansas City.
Corpus Christi senior counsel Michael Richardson did not respond to multiple requests for an interview. Dallas defense attorney Dick Sayles declined to comment. Several attempts to contact the defendants were unsuccessful.
“The jury’s verdict on ResMan is an important relief to our client and their hardworking employees who spent years and millions of dollars developing this breakthrough real estate software that manages homes in the United States,” said Wyckoff Boyce.
ResMan chief executive Paul Bridgewater agreed.
“This case is very important to ResMan because our intellectual property is one of our most valuable assets,” said Bridgewater. “Our test team worked closely with us to protect our state-of-the-art property management solution.”
For a longer version of this article, please visit TexasLawbook.net.