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EHR Vendor Epic Appeals Damages Case to the US Supreme Court

EHR Vendor Epic has appealed to the Supreme Court after the Seventh Circuit reduced its award for a trade secret case that began in 2015.

EHR Vendor Epic’s trade secret case concerning alleged damages from Tata Consultancy Services may continue before the Supreme Court, according to reporting from Crowell Trade Secrets.

While the case was included in the Supreme Court’s conference schedule on September 27 and October 8, 2021, the Supreme Court asked the government to weigh in on whether the Court should permit Epic’s April petition for certiorari.

The case began in 2016 when the EHR vendor filed a complaint in Wisconsin District Court. Epic alleged that a Tata employee working as a consultant at Kaiser Foundation Hospitals had accessed Epic’s implementation, integration, and testing support portal—Epic UserWeb—to download more than 6,477 documents and 1,687 unique files from an IP address outside the United States.

“The vast majority of the stolen data was not required for TCS to provide consulting services to Epic’s customer," stated Epic in the filed complaint. "To the contrary, much of the data wrongfully taken from Epic, if used improperly, would provide an unfair development and design advantage for TCS’s competing medical management software called Med Mantra."

Following a nine-day trial in 2016, a Wisconsin District Court jury announced a $940 million verdict.

The District Court later reduced the fine to $420 million to comply with a state law that caps punitive damages at twice that of compensatory damages. 

In 2020, the Seventh Circuit instructed the lower court to cap punitive damages at $140 million, the fine determined for compensatory damages in the case. This limited the total award to $280 million.

Epic appealed to the Supreme Court that the Seventh Circuit had mistakenly set a threshold at a one-to-one ratio of punitive to compensatory damages. The EHR vendor also argued that the Seventh Circuit’s ruling disregards a kind of award that has been “permitted for hundreds of years.”

While the Supreme Court requested the Solicitor General disclose the government’s views on the appeal, the Court does not currently have a designated deadline for the government to weigh in.

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