A federal judge has reduced a jury award to Epic Systems Corp. from $940 million to $420 million in a case against an Indian company that allegedly stole trade secrets to develop software.
Verona-based Epic won the $940 million award in April 2016 after it claimed Tata Consultancy Services inappropriately downloaded more than 6,000 documents, including proprietary software and databases, from Epic’s computer network.
In June 2016, Epic asked the court to reduce the award to $720 million by decreasing punitive damages from $700 million to $480 million. That is because a state statute caps punitive damages at twice that of compensatory damages, for which the jury awarded $240 million.
In an order Friday, Judge William Conley of U.S District Court in Madison went a step further. He dropped $100 million of the compensatory damages, which the jury awarded for Tata’s use of other information to improve its competing software.
Given that Tata didn’t end up developing that software and is prohibited by the court from using information it took from Epic, the $100 million “strikes the court as both excessive and without sufficient mooring in the facts of record,” Conley wrote.
With the compensatory damages set at $140 million, Conley allowed $280 million in punitive damages, for a total of $420 million.
In a statement, Tata said the reduced damages “are not supported by evidence presented during the trial and a strong appeal can be made to superior court to fully set aside the jury verdict.”
Epic spokeswoman Meghan Roh said the company had no comment about Conley’s order, reported Tuesday by Wisconsin Health News.
Epic, founded in 1979, has about 9,600 employees and had $2.5 billion in 2016 revenue.
In an unrelated case, Epic appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to argue that it could make workers sign an agreement to arbitrate wage disputes individually rather than as a group. The case involves a dispute about overtime pay for technical writers who worked at Epic as of April 2014.
A federal appeals court ruled last year that the wage arbitration rule violated federal law. In oral arguments Monday, the court’s liberals appeared to side with Epic workers, while conservatives on the court led by Chief Justice John Roberts feared that a ruling for workers could invalidate contracts for 25 million employees who have contracts that have individual arbitration clauses.
The case was heard with two others that have similar issues.