Firm Wins Record Jury Verdict for Areva

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On Dec. 17, 2014, following nearly four years of pretrial proceedings and an eight-day trial, Hughes Hubbard won a jury verdict awarding Areva Inc. more than $16 million in damages against The Babcock & Wilcox Co. and certain of its affiliates (B&W) on claims for trade secret misappropriation and breach of a 2004 sub-license of nuclear technology.  

The case involved proprietary information and data supporting commercial nuclear services, including modifications of existing nuclear power plant systems and support of regulatory licensing of nuclear power plants following modification. The verdict is believed to be the largest ever awarded in the Circuit Court for the City of Lynchburg or surrounding areas.

Areva praised the verdict in a statement.

“This case was about intellectual property rights that Areva received when it acquired B&W’s commercial nuclear business in the 1990s and via subsequent agreements,” said Scott Matteson, senior counsel for Areva Inc. “The information presented at trial upheld the contractual agreement between the two companies.”

Areva commenced proceedings against B&W in February 2011, alleging that B&W had used Areva-exclusive technology without paying royalties due under a 2004 sub-license of nuclear technology. Areva additionally alleged that B&W had engaged in unauthorized sub-licensing of Areva-exclusive technology and trade secret misappropriation. B&W denied Areva’s allegations. 

On Dec. 17, 2014, a seven-person jury unanimously found that B&W had breached the 2004 sub-license with respect to 15 contracts entered into between 2004 and 2011, that B&W had misappropriated one or more trade secrets that Areva had purchased or exclusively licensed from B&W, and that Areva was entitled to have and recover approximately $16.075 million from B&W. The following day, Dec. 18, the trial court heard and denied a motion by B&W to set aside the verdict.

The verdict made headlines inThe Washington Post, The Lynchburg News & Advance and other media outlets.

New York litigation partner James W. Dabney led the case team, which included associates Richard M. Koehl, Stephen Kenny, Erik Huestis and paralegal Jeffrey Bednar.