Texas Appeals Court Guts $40M Energy Trade Secret Verdict

Law360, Houston (July 11, 2013, 7:47 PM EDT) -- A Texas appeals court on Wednesday slashed a $40 million verdict against a unit of Southwestern Energy Co., ruling an engineer and a geologist who say the energy developer stole their research had asserted a faulty legal claim.

The Twelfth District Court of Appeals said that although Toby Berry-Helfand and Gery Muncey sufficiently proved that Southwestern Energy Production Co. used their proprietary geological study without permission to identify prime spots for drilling oil and gas wells in East Texas, they could not prevail on a breach of fiduciary duty claim, requiring reduction of the judgment by $23.8 million.

"Courts may fashion...

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