Jury awards more than $16 million to small business


On May 7, 2009, McDowell, Rice attorney Tom Buchanan won a $16,738,500 victory for ICE Corp., a small Kansas manufacturer of aircraft de-icing controllers. ICE sued corporate giant Hamilton Sundstrand and its French affiliate, Ratier Figeac, for misappropriation of ICE’s trade secrets. The lawsuit involved development and sale to Airbus of de-icing controllers to be used on military aircraft.

After a month-long trial, a federal jury in Topeka, Kansas found in favor of ICE and awardedcompensatory damages of $4,795,300 under the Kansas Uniform Trade Secrets Act. In addition, the jury found the misappropriation was willful and that punitive damages should be awarded in the amount of $10 million against Ratier and $2.5 million against Hamilton Sundstrand. Following a subsequent bench trial, the United States District Court independently evaluated the punitive damages and imposed punitive damages of $9,590,600 against Ratier and $2,397.650 against Hamilton Sunstrand. Judgment has been entered in ICE's favor, and the case remains pending for the Court’s decision on the defendants’ post-trial motions.

Jason Buchanan second-chaired the trial, and Linda McFee assisted throughout the litigation.

ICE Corp. v. Hamilton Sundstrand Corp., 615 F. Supp. 2d 1266 (D. Kan. 2009).

 

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