St. Jude Medical Inc. (NYSE:STJ) won a whopping $2.3 billion award from a California jury that found a former engineer culpable of using stolen trade secrets to start a competing company in China — adding nearly a billion dollars to what St. Jude sought.
It only took two hours for the Los Angeles Superior Court jury to find that Yongning Zou, an engineer with St. Jude subsidiary Pacesetter Inc., used his access to confidential company information to found Nervicon Co. Ltd. in China.
Using a database of highly confidential information, Zou swiped details on STJ-branded pacemakers, defibrillators and neuromodulators and skipped the two years and millions taking the legitimate route would have taken, according to Law360. Zou and Nervicon failed to mount much of a defense and never appeared during the trial phase of the case, according to the website.
Zou allegedly owns a 47.5 percent stake in Nervicon and runs the company, founded 15 days before Zou resigned from St. Jude. Zou spent six years at St. Jude, which spent five years and thousands of dollars helping him land a green card, according to the website.
The jury awarded $947 million against Zou and Nervicon for past harm, $868 million against Nervicon for future economic losses and $500 million against Nervicon in punitive damages.
St. Jude will seek a default judgment from Judge Ruth Kwan, who set a May 26 date for a hearing to help her decide whether to slap Zou and Nervicon with a permanent injunction. Kwan will also decide whether to add as much as $1.9 billion in punitive damages to the jury award.
But the St. Paul, Minn.-based company may never see a dime from the case and its furtive defendants.
“Good luck collecting,” the jury foreperson told St. Jude’s legal team on the way out the door, Law360 reported.