Trial litigation firm Susman Godfrey LLP has secured a landmark jury verdict of $706.2 million for real estate analytics company HouseCanary in a misappropriation of trade secret and breach of contract case against Title Source, an affiliate of Quicken Loans.
HouseCanary was jointly represented by Susan Godfrey’s Kalpana Srinivasan and Max Tribble, Matthew Behncke, Elisha Barron and Rocco Magni, Ricardo G. Cedillo of Davis, Cedillo & Mendoza, Inc.
The Texas jury found that Title Source, now known as Amrock, Inc., fraudulently misappropriated HouseCanary’s innovative technology for real estate valuation and appraisal analytics and had breached confidentiality and other prior agreements between the parties.
At the conclusion of the seven-week trial last week, a 12-person jury found unanimously in favor of HouseCanary, awarding HouseCanary $706.2 million against Title Source on counterclaims in this high-stakes legal battle.
“We are very pleased we could obtain this result for our client,” said Tribble, who served as lead counsel for HouseCanary. “Our firm’s experience in high-tech trade secret cases enabled us to secure this substantial win in a hard-fought trial.”
In 2015, HouseCanary was contracted by Title Source to develop software to provide appraisal and real estate valuations. At the conclusion of 18 months of work, Title Source refused to pay HouseCanary and instead sued them in Bexar County, Texas, as a declaratory judgment to get out of paying contract fees for using HouseCanary’s real estate data, analytics, and valuation technology.
HouseCanary countersued and, in doing so, discovered that Title Source misappropriated HouseCanary’s trade secrets, breaking multiple previously signed agreements governing non-disclosure and limiting Title Source’s use of HouseCanary’s information. The trade secrets relate to HouseCanary’s technology to provide highly accurate automated property valuations and related information. Title Source and its family of companies (including Quicken Loans) wanted access to HouseCanary’s technology and data to develop its own competing analytics and software.
The jury found that Title Source stole that data, violated the parties’ various agreements and engaged in fraud by assuring HouseCanary it was not makings its own competing models. The jury also found the conduct was willful to award punitive damages.
The jury awarded HouseCanary $235.4 million in damages for misappropriation of the trade secrets and fraud claims. The jury then awarded an additional $471.4 punitive damages.
The case is Title Source Inc. v. HouseCanary Inc. fka Canary Analytics, Inc.; Case No. 2016CI06300, filed in the United States District Court of Bexar County, Texas, 73rd Judicial District.