Photo of Emily B. Cooper

In an order dated April 20, 2021, U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield granted Syntel Inc.’s request for a new trial or remittitur on the $569,710,384 punitive damage award issued against Syntel following an October 2020 jury trial.

In October 2020, a New York federal jury found that Syntel had misappropriated the TriZetto Group, Inc.’s trade secrets in violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act and New York law. The jury also found that Syntel infringed one or more of TriZetto’s copyrights. The jury awarded $284,855,192 million in compensatory damages and $569,710,384 million in punitive damages.

Both Syntel and TriZetto had moved for a judgment as a matter of law on all claims and counterclaims before the case was submitted to the jury. After the jury’s verdict, Syntel renewed its motion for judgment as a matter of law, or in the alternative, a new trial or remittitur.

Judge Schofield denied Syntel’s motions, except for its request for remittitur on punitive damages. In her opinion, Judge Schofield reasoned that, “[g]iven the large compensatory damages award—calculated based on Syntel’s benefit—Syntel’s reprehensible but not egregious conduct, and in light of similar cases—a 1:1 ratio relative to the compensatory award is the highest permissible award.” Accordingly, Judge Schofield reduced the punitive damages award to $284,855,192, subject to TriZetto agreeing to remittitur. On May 4, 2021, TriZetto notified the Court that it agreed to remittitur and accepted a reduced punitive damages award. Syntel has since appealed the judgment. This is a good reminder that a jury’s punitive damages award in a trade secret misappropriation case is subject to the court’s review.