Fifth Circuit Appellate Court Upholds Wickfire Trial Win in Part
The Court upheld the jury's finding that Wickfire's business conduct was legal and justified but clarified the law regarding what types of contracts are acceptable for calculating damages.
AUSTIN, Texas, March 10, 2021 (Newswire.com) - The Fifth Circuit ruled on Friday on an appeal against the February 2017 district court judgment against TriMax where the jury found that TriMax had interfered with Wickfire's current and prospective business relationships. The jury awarded Wickfire $2.3M of damages.
The Court respected the fact-finding that the jury did, stating: "In support of its claim, WickFire unquestionably offered sufficient proof that TriMax intended to influence WickFire's relationships with both individual merchants and the various intermediary affiliate networks with whom WickFire contracted." (emphasis in original)
Additionally, the Court upheld the jury's finding that Wickfire's business conduct was legal and justified, saying "we see nothing to indicate WickFire's … practices were illegal or tortious, which would, under Texas law, preclude the defense as a matter of law. The jury also heard ample evidence to support its verdict."
The appellate court did, however, provide a clarification of law regarding what types of contracts are acceptable for calculating damages, and failed to uphold the jury's monetary award to Wickfire on that basis. Wickfire can seek new damages on its claims with the district court.
"Affiliate marketing contracts exist in nontraditional digital formats, just like affiliate marketing businesses. We presented what we felt was an appropriate way to calculate damages for TriMax's interfering behavior, and the jury agreed with us. Unfortunately, the Fifth Circuit clarified how the law handles contractual damage calculations in a way that didn't favor our approach," Wickfire's CEO, Chet Hall, stated.
"The Court respected the jury's fact-finding regarding TriMax's bad acts and left the door open for us to seek new damages to address the harm done by those bad acts. Moreover, the Court clearly saw TriMax's allegations against Wickfire for the smokescreen they were and saw fit to dismiss TriMax's counterclaims against Wickfire once and for all."
The full ruling is available here: https://cases.justia.com/federal/appellate-courts/ca5/17-50340/17-50340-2021-03-02.pdf.
Source: Wickfire, LLC