September 9, 2016
Misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of loyalty claimed

This week, a Kansas City jury returned a $3.3 million verdict, comprised of $1.7 million in actual damages and $1.6 million in punitive damages for Travois, Inc., a mission-driven consulting firm focused exclusively on promoting housing and economic development for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities. 

The jury found defendants Robin Thorne and Lorna Fogg, who had worked at Travois from 2002 to 2013 prior to launching their competing company, VitalSpirit LLC in 2013, misappropriated trade secrets and breached duties of loyalty owed to Travois.  

“We are pleased the jury recognized the value of all that we and our clients have accomplished together over the last 21 years,” said Elizabeth Glynn, CEO of Travois. “We remain focused on increasing affordable housing and economic opportunities throughout American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities. We are grateful for all of the hard work that our attorneys, Jason Bush and Eric Packel of the Polsinelli law firm, did on our behalf.  We are very pleased with the outcome.”  

The case was unique because prior to trial the judge sanctioned the defendants, finding among other things that they had “provided false, deceptive and evasive testimony and discovery responses, concealed and withheld crucial evidence from Travois, and repeatedly denied that this evidence ever existed.”

“Only nine of 12 jurors must agree in order to return a verdict,” said Jason Bush, of Polsinelli. “But in this case, the verdict was unanimous and I think that was very telling. We were pleased with the outcome we were able to achieve for Travois, as well as with the jurors’ thoughtful consideration of the evidence.”  

Bush is a shareholder in Polsinelli’s Financial and Securities Litigation and Commercial Litigation practice groups. Packel is a shareholder in Polsinelli’s Labor and Employment law practice group. Headquartered in Kansas City, Polsinelli has 19 offices coast to coast, and with more than 800 attorneys, is one of the fastest growing law firms in the nation.