The 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals last week upheld a $31.3 million award for Hallmark Cards against a company accused of stealing trade secrets and then covering up.
The long-running case stemmed from 2001, when Hallmark hired the Monitor Company Group, a consulting company, to research the greeting card market. An affiliate company, Monitor Clipper Partners, subsequently obtained Hallmark’s confidential information and used it in an effort to buy Recycled Papers Greetings, a Hallmark competitor.
Hallmark settled its complaint against Monitor Company Group for $16.6 million, but its case against Monitor Clipper Partners went to trial. The appellate decision upheld the 2012 jury verdict.
“The record discloses Clipper’s numerous attempts to conceal its misappropriation of Hallmark’s trade secrets,” wrote Judge Roger Wollman for the three-judge panel.
Wollman said court records showed that “Clipper ignored numerous litigation holds, destroyed records, erased computers and generally sought to avoid liability for its wrongdoing in whatever way it could.”
The decision called Clipper’s actions a “massive coverup” that justified punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages.
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