District Judge Shira Scheindlin granted in part and denied in part plaintiff TNS Media’s motion to limit defendant TRA Global’s requests for injunctive relief, a trial for attorneys’ fees, and damages. The court previously granted summary judgment of non-infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, and non-patent damages in favor of TNS Media, and “named only injunctive relief, attorneys’ fees, and nominal damages as remaining remedies.”
TRA Global asserted multiple grounds for injunctive relief: 1) TNS Media’s representative on TRA Global’s board aided and abetted a breach of fiduciary duty; 2) TNS Media breached four contracts; and 3) it was entitled to a “head start injunction” due to TNS Media’s alleged misappropriation of trade secrets. The court granted TNS media’s motion holding that TRA Global’s request for an injunction was moot because 1) TNS Media’s representative was no longer on TRA Global’s board, 2) two of the four contracts had expired, and 3) TNS Media did not misappropriate confidential information disclosed by the remaining two contracts and any “head start” period had elapsed.
TRA Global had also claimed that it was “entitled to a trial on its claim for attorneys’ fees” because the “substantive law” required that TRA Global prove attorneys’ fees as an element of damages. However, the court held that no such “substantive law” applied. Because TNS Media “had a good faith basis for instituting suit” and none of the contracts had a provision for attorneys’ fees, TRA Global was required to wait until after entry of judgment to request attorneys’ fees.
The court denied TNS Media’s motion to limit nominal damages, allowing TRA Global to seek nominal damages, even though it did not explicitly plead nominal damages, because “a complaint that ‘seeks only damages can include nominal damages.’” However, the court granted TNS Media’s motion as to compensatory damages because “TRA may not wait until trial to offer new computations for previously undisclosed damages theories,” The court also found that TRA Global was not entitled to punitive damages because it submitted nothing indicating it could meet the “high threshold of moral culpability” required to recover punitive damages.
Case: TNS Media Research, LLC v. TRA Global, Inc., No. 11 Civ. 4039 (SAS), 2014 BL 96049 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 7, 2014)