Telewizja Polska USA, Inc. v. Echostar Satellite Corp., No. 04 C 3293, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Oct. 30, 2007) (Guzman, J.).
Judge Guzman adopted Magistrate Judge Keys’s Report and Recommendation in its entirety, awarding plaintiff all of the approximately $800,000 in attorney’s fees and costs plaintiff sought pursuant to the fee-shifting provision in the parties’ agreement and Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d). At trial, plaintiff sought approximately $2.8M for its breach of contract claim and approximately $5.8M for its unjust enrichment claim – the claims were plead in the alternative. The jury awarded plaintiff approximately $1.4M on the breach of contract claim. The jury also awarded defendant $1 in compensatory damages and approximately $18,000 in punitive damages on defendant’s defamation counterclaim. Defendant argued that plaintiff was not the prevailing party, as required by Rule 54(d) and, therefore, should not be awarded its fees and costs or, at least, should be awarded a reduced amount.
But the Court held that plaintiff prevailed by winning one of its major claims, even though the contract claim was worth less than the unjust enrichment claim, based upon plaintiff’s analysis. Additionally, the $1.4M jury award based upon a $7M demand was sufficient to be considered prevailing. The Court noted that parties have been considered prevailing when a jury awarded even 10% of plaintiff’s demand. The Court also suggested that the outcome might have been different if plaintiff had lost on the claim which created the Court’s federal question jurisdiction. But in this case, jurisdiction was based upon diversity. Finally, the Court denied defendant’s request to reduce counsel’s hours or rates because defendant previously agreed not to challenge the reasonableness of the fees.

Continue Reading Plaintiff Can be “Prevailing Party” if Jury Awards Even 10% of Plaintiff’s Demand

Bryant v. Gordon, __F.Supp.2d__, 2007 WL 2440208 (N.D. Ill. August 30, 2007) (Kennelly, Jr.).*
Judge Kennelly denied defendants James Gordon’s (“Gordon”) and Mach 1’s motions for judgment as a matter of law (“JMOL”) and entered an injunction against Gordon’s and Mach 1’s continued use of the copyrighted pictures at issue – pictures of a parachutist and a sniper used in motivational posters. Gordon and Mach 1 argued that the jury’s verdict that Gordon and Mach 1 infringed plaintiff’s copyrights was inconsistent with the jury’s verdict that defendant John Urtis (“Urtis”) – who took the infringing sniper photo – did not infringe plaintiff’s copyright. But the Court held that JMOL cannot be used to harmonize jury verdicts. Furthermore, the Court held that the infringement verdicts were supported by the facts.
Because of a threat of continued infringement, the Court granted a permanent injunction against Gordon and Mach 1. But the Court held that it could not issue the injunction against Urtis because the jury’s verdict was in Urtis’s favor. The Court did, however, caution Urtis not to aid the other defendants in violating their injunction.
* For more on this case, click here in the Blog’s archives.

Continue Reading JMOL Not for Harmonizing Jury Verdicts

I have already posted on the verdict generally, but the jury’s completed verdict form is now available and provides some more detailed information — click here for a copy. The jury found infringement, either literal, contributory or induced, for every accused product on every asserted claim. The $3.5M damages award was split $1.5M against eSpeed and $2M against Ecco. And both eSpeed and Ecco were found to have willfully infringed the patents.
Additionally, click here for the final jury instructions. Of particular interest, the willfulness instruction, at page 35, is likely one of the first that used the new objective recklessness standard from In re Seagate.

Continue Reading Trading Technologies v. eSpeed: Jury Verdit Form

As I posted yesterday afternoon, the jury came back for Trading Technologies (“TT”). The jury found that eSpeed willfully infringed TT’s patents for a six month period in 2004, found the patents valid and awarded $3.5M in damages. The parties have not completed their bench trial on inequitable conduct. So, the Court may still hold the patents invalid based upon inequitable conduct, which would render the $3.5M damages award moot. But unless and until that happens, the award stands and has the potential to be as much as trebled based upon the willfulness finding.
There has been some press coverage already. Here is some of the best:
Crain’s Chicago Business
Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
Ad Hoc News
CNN Money (AP story)
Futures Magazine
You can read much more about this case and its related cases in the Blog’s archives by clicking here.

Continue Reading Trading Technologies v. eSpeed: Verdict Update

The jury returned a verdict for Trading Technologies, finding infringement and awarding $3.5M for software sold by eSpeed over six months in 2004. The Court previously granted summary judgment of noninfringement for eSpeed’s software from 2005 to the present. I will provide more particulars as soon as I can get them. And I will continue posting about a few of Judge Moran’s opinions from the case, in addition to his opinions regarding the post-trial motions that I am sure will be filed.

Continue Reading Trading Technologies v. eSpeed: Jury Verdict

Northwestern University statistics professor Bruce Spencer concluded in a recent paper that juries provide accurate results 80% of the time. The paper, “Estimating the Accuracy of Jury Verdicts” was recently released online prior to a planned publication in this month’s issue of the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (if you do not want to wade through Spencer’s statistical analysis and discussions, Northwestern created a very detailed press release that is a good start). Spencer considers two studies of 271 criminal juries in which the presiding judge filled out a survey explaining what the judge believed the correct verdict to be prior to hearing the jury’s verdict. Approximately the juries agreed with the presiding judges approximately 80% of the time. Spencer is careful to point out that a jury that disagrees with a presiding judge is not necessarily wrong. But he explains that jury-judge agreement is a reliable indicator of jury accuracy. Spencer also argues that his study is based upon a relatively limited data set, and that his study should not be a basis for broad conclusions so much as additional research.
As you might imagine, Spencer’s study has generated lots of blogosphere commentary. Anne Reed of the Deliberations blog (an excellent blog and my source for this post — thanks Anne) has an interesting prospective. She argues that the study highlights the tension between the jury’s job – applying the facts to the law and determining whether the party with the burden has met that burden – and what the jury thought its job would be – seeking truth and justice:
In short, the relevance of Prof. Spencer’s work to trial lawyers may be not in what it says about juries, but in what it says about jurors. From high-school dropouts to university professors, they come to court with a clear, and often mistaken, idea of what their task is. If your case depends on correcting that idea, you may need to work harder than you imagined.
I think Reed makes an interesting point. But I took something a little more positive away from Spencer’s work. I was very impressed that juries and judges agreed 80% of the time. As a child, my dad (a criminal defense attorney) routinely asked my family and me to predict the outcomes of his trials. We were usually correct. My dad was not. At some point during law school, I stopped being able to predict his case outcomes. The law changes how you think. Perhaps lawyers become too clouded with burdens of proof and rules of evidence to appreciate how a jury sees a trial. As a federal district court law clerk, I had a similar experience. I saw a number of trials and as we waited for the jury, we would often try to predict the results in chambers. The only people who reliably predicted the results were those without law degrees. So, the 80% accuracy rate suggests to me that juries are doing a good job of putting aside their Law & Order notions of the courtroom and making the parties meet their burdens.

Continue Reading Juries Get it Right — 80% of the Time