Congratulations to NJL lawyers, Karna Berg, Jeremy Robb, Katie Connolly, and Peter Gray, along with their client, Loftness Specialized Farm Equipment, for their complete defense verdict in a breach of contract claim (alleged breach of a non-disclosure agreement) by Twiestmeyer et al., in suit since 2011.
Before the recent jury trial, the multi-million dollar claim had already been to the Court of Appeals twice (see here and here). So, by the time of trial, the case was narrowed down and simplified to this single claim (see the jury instructions here).
It seems that the adversaries once worked together on “improving and manufacturing a grain-bag loading machine” based on the design of a machine that the Twiestmeyer parties had been importing from Argentina.
Having worked together, the adversaries then went their separate ways and Loftness assumed (1) that the parties’ non-disclosure agreement (“NDA”) would not apply to information that was later publicly available, and (2) that Loftness could use the no-longer-confidential information going forward without paying the Twiestmeyer parties for the right. The jury apparently agreed with Loftness.
It almost seems silly that someone would argue that an NDA would require someone to keep something secret that is widely and publicly known (or have to pay for the right to use the now-public information). But the Twiestmeyer parties undoubtedly saw things differently when they first lit the six-year fuse on what turned out to be a bomb of a lawsuit. But stay tuned. Yet another trip to the Court of Appeals could change the case’s ultimate outcome (yet again).