We secured a total defense verdict following a three-week jury trial in a multi-million dollar trade secrets case. The firm represented Richard Murphy, a subsea tree engineer, in a misappropriation of trade secrets case brought by FMC Technologies, Inc., his former employer, against Mr. Murphy and Mr. Murphy’s current employer, Dril-Quip, Inc. FMC alleged that Mr. Murphy misappropriated trade secrets by communicating FMC trade secrets to Dril-Quip before Dril-Quip hired Mr. Murphy and then using FMC trade secrets to aid Dril-Quip’s development of its subsea tree systems. Mr. Murphy and Dril-Quip contended that the information at issue did not qualify as a trade secret under the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act and that Mr. Murphy did not disclose or use any FMC trade secrets at Dril-Quip. FMC sought almost $40 million in damages, as well as exemplary damages and injunctive relief against both Mr. Murphy and Dril-Quip.
The case was tried live to a jury over three weeks starting on April 6, 2021, which was only about six months from when the case was originally filed. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, precautions were taken to protect all participants, including wearing of face shields and masks; seating the jury in the gallery six-feet apart rather than in the jury box; and conducting voir dire at NRG Arena. After hearing the evidence, the jury ruled entirely in favor of Mr. Murphy and Dril-Quip, finding that no trade secrets were misappropriated. The Court entered a final, take-nothing judgment on May 24, 2021.