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Complex Commercial Litigation Update

February 21, 2020

The fourth quarter of 2019 was a busy one for the Superior Court’s Complex Commercial Litigation Division. The court issued two post-trial opinions, one of which involved a novel issue of fraud damages. The court also continued its handling of complex trade secrets disputes. For more information about the CCLD or past issues of this mailing, please visit our website.

Judge Carpenter Refuses to Overturn Jury Verdict in Licensing Dispute and Awards Plaintiff over $50 Million in Damages
In DRIT LP v. Glaxo Group Ltd., C.A. No. N16C-07-218-WCC-CCLD, Judge Carpenter granted plaintiff DRIT LP’s motion for determination of damages and entry of partial judgment and denied defendants Glaxo Group Limited and Human Genome Sciences, Inc.’s (“GSK”) renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law or a new trial, entitling DRIT to approximately $57,073,482 in unpaid royalty payments in addition to future royalty payments from GSK in accordance with the parties’ agreement.  
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Judge Carpenter Orders New Trial on Damages in Fraudulent Misrepresentation Case and Clarifies Availability of “Benefit-of-the-Bargain” Damages in Fraud Case
In LCT Capital, LLC, v. NGL Energy Partners LP and NGL Energy Holdings, LLC., C.A. No. 15C-08-109 WCC [CCLD], defendants NGL Energy Partners LP and NGL Energy Holdings, LLC purchased a company and plaintiff LCT Capital, LLC played a pivotal role in facilitating the acquisition.  Accordingly, LCT Capital sought a substantial fee for its services, representing a sum greater than what is normally used in the industry.  When NGL refused to pay, LCT Capital filed suit, alleging claims including breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraudulent misrepresentation, and a quantum meruit.    
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Judge LeGrow Dismisses Breach of Contract and Trade Secret Claims for Failure to Comply with Statute of Limitations
In Ocimum Biosolutions (India) Ltd. v. AstraZeneca UK Ltd., C.A. No. N15C-08-168 AML CCLD, defendant AstraZeneca entered a three-year subscription agreement with plaintiff Ocimum.  The contract permitted AstraZeneca to access Ocimum’s biological database, but required the company to return or destroy all unreserved data at the end of the term.  After the agreement expired, Ocimum suspected AstraZeneca wrongfully retained data and later brought claims for breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, and unjust enrichment.   
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Judge Davis Dismisses Indemnification Claims Upon Reconsideration
In Winshall v. Viacom International Inc., C.A. No. N15C-06-137 EMD CCLD, Judge Davis granted the defendant’s motion for reconsideration of the court’s prior summary judgment decision.  This suit arose from the merger of Harmonix Music Systems with Viacom International Inc.  
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Judge Wallace Disqualifies Counsel 
In Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada v. Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB, C.A. No. N18C-08-074 PRW CCLD, Judge Wallace granted a motion to disqualify brought by defendant Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB (“WSFS”).  Although the plaintiff’s counsel, Cozen O’Connor, had been longtime counsel for WSFS, this was not the conflict on which WSFS moved to disqualify Cozen because WSFS had granted a waiver.  Rather, WSFS moved to disqualify Cozen because Cozen also represented the ultimate beneficiary of the underlying transaction, non-party 2019 Life Settlement, formerly known as Ocean Gate Life Settlement Program.  
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Special Master Boyer Grants Motion to Compel, Allowing Broad Discovery 
In Smart Sand, Inc. v. US Well Services LLC, C.A. No. N19C-01-144 PRW [CCLD], Special Master Boyer granted a defendant/counterclaim plaintiff’s motion to compel several requests for production (“RFPs”), with certain limitations.  The instant dispute traced its origins back to the plaintiff/counterclaim defendant’s motion to dismiss.  There, Judge Wallace had allowed the defendant/counterclaim plaintiff’s contract claims concerning the misuse or misappropriation of confidential information to proceed, while dismissing duplicative tort claims.  
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