DuPont Wins Kolon Property In $920M Recovery Effort
Law360, New York (April 03, 2013, 8:16 PM ET) -- A New Jersey federal judge has ordered the U.S. subsidiary of South Korea-based Kolon Industries Inc. to hand over property to DuPont Co. as the chemical giant continues efforts to recover $920 million in damages won in a trade secrets suit against Kolon last year.
U.S. District Judge Esther Salas ruled March 22 that DuPont had fulfilled all of its legal requirements under New Jersey law in demanding the property from Kolon Industries USA, which owes its parent company $3.5 million. The opinion was unsealed Wednesday.
“DuPont has satisfied the three requirements,” Judge Salas said. “First, DuPont has accorded valid notice to Kolon and KUSA. Second, DuPont has obtained a valid levy upon the debtor property. Finally, KUSA has admitted the debt.”
The order was a win for DuPont in its bid to execute the $920 million judgment granted by a Virginia federal jury in September 2011.
The Virginia jury found that Kolon illegally obtained information about the technology used to make the Kevlar aramid fiber used in military and law enforcement flak jackets from a former DuPont employee it had hired as a consultant in order to improve its process for producing a rival product.
Kolon is currently appealing the ruling.
DuPont's trade secrets suit, filed in February 2009, accused Kolon of using proprietary information passed on by Michael Mitchell, who began working for the company in 2006, after leaving DuPont. Mitchell pled guilty to trade secrets theft and obstruction of justice, and was sentenced in March 2010 to 18 months in prison.
The suit alleged conspiracy to injure DuPont in trade, intentional interference with an employment agreement, intentional interference with business expectancy, wrongful conversion of trade secrets and engagement in civil conspiracy.
The U.S. Department of Justice had sought criminal charges against Kolon for the alleged trade secrets theft, but that case hit a roadblock in February after a Virginia federal judge said prosecutors failed to properly serve the company and five executives with a criminal summons.
DuPont is represented by Matthew I. Menchel and Michael S. Kim of Kobre & Kim LLP.
Kolon is represented by Alexander W. Wood and Jean M. Vrola of Paul Hastings LLP.
The case is E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. v. Kolon Industries Inc. et al., case number 3:09-cv-00058, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.