The one thing that we’re not likely to see in the case, at least without a successful Kolon appeal, is a re-hash of the trade secrets trial. On Friday Richmond, Va., federal district court judge Robert Payne rejected Kolon’s motions for a new trial and for judgment as a matter of law, ruling that the jury had reasonably concluded that Kolon tapped a former DuPont employee for confidential information relating to Kevlar, DuPont’s best-selling aramid fiber, in order to bolster its competing product. (The orders are here and here.)
“We’re pleased that Judge Payne has confirmed the jury’s verdict, and I think it reaffirms the strength of the case we presented,” said DuPont counsel Brian Riopelle of McGuireWoods.
When the dust settled after trial, Kolon’s lawyers at Paul Hastings and LeClairRyan filed a string of motions urging Judge Payne to set aside or reduce the jury’s whopping $920 million verdict. They also refocused on counterclaims that DuPont violated antitrust law by requiring customers to enter into long-term exclusive agreements to purchase Kevlar. Judge Payne bifurcated those claims into a separate case, which is slated for a April 2012 trial.
On Tuesday, DuPont upped the stakes with a motion for Rule 11 sanctions accusing Kolon and its lawyers of filing “baseless” antitrust counterclaims in bad faith and purposefully obstructing and delaying discovery. A particular sore spot for team DuPont is an e-mail from last September in which lawyers for Kolon wrote that they had not translated documents relating to the antitrust claims from Korean to English.
“Many of the documents Kolon produced that lay bare the falsity and frivolousness of its claims were in Korean and thus had to translated for non-Korean U.S. lawyers to review and understand,” the DuPont lawyers wrote. “Yet Kolon’s U.S. counsel, who signed and verified Kolon’s Counterclaim. . .admitted they never reviewed a single Kolon Korean document as of least September 15, 2011–barely two weeks before the close of fact discovery.”
Paul Hastings has yet to reply to the allegations. The firm did, however, file this motion on Nov. 30 asking Judge Payne to recuse himself from presiding over discovery relating to a patent case McGuireWoods brought for DuPont against Kolon in the 1980s, when Payne was a partner at McGuireWoods.
McGuireWoods’s Riopelle told us he’d like Judge Payne to end the heated court fight by dismissing Kolon’s antitrust claims on summary judgment. “We’d like to avoid the cost of preparing for trial, but Judge Payne has so far given no indication that he will delay the trial. I’m certainly hoping he will,” Riopelle said.br />
Paul Hastings partner Jeffrey Randall did not return a call seeking comment.