Submitted: June 14, 2019
Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law or, in the
Alternative, for a New Trial - DENIED
Motion for Determination of Damages and Entry of Partial
Judgment - GRANTED
A. Rovner, Esquire; Jonathan A. Choa, Esquire; Potter
Anderson & Corroon LLP, Attorneys for Defendants.
Matthew M. Wolf, Esquire; John E. Nilsson, Esquire; Soumitra
Deka, Esquire; Bridgette Boyd, Esquire; Arnold & Porter
Kaye Scholer LLP, Attorneys for Defendants.
Gregory P. Williams, Esquire; Chad M. Shandler, Esquire;
Nicole Pedi, Esquire; Richards, Layton & Finger P.A.,
Attorneys for Plaintiff.
R. Hummel, Esquire; Karin A. DeMasi, Esquire; Cravath, Swaine
& Moore LLP, Attorneys for Plaintiff.
WILLIAM C. CARPENTER JR. JUDGE.
the Court are Defendants Glaxo Group Limited
("GGL") and Human Genome Sciences, Inc.'s
("HGS") (collectively, "Defendants" or
"GSK") Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of
Law or, in the Alternative, for a New Trial, and Plaintiff
DRIT LP's ("Plaintiff or "DRIT") Motion
for Determination of Damages and Entry of Judgment. For the
reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion is DENIED and
Plaintiffs Motion is GRANTED.
FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Court has rehashed the factual background of this case
several times in prior Opinions, and it will only provide a
brief recitation of the facts most relevant to the pending
litigation stems from a Patent License and Settlement
Agreement entered into on October 28, 2008, and subsequently
amended on August 24, 2012 (the "Settlement
Agreement"). The Settlement Agreement was originally
between Defendants GGL, HGS, and non-party Biogen to resolve
a patent ownership dispute over inventions relating to the
use of antibodies for the treatment of lupus. This Settlement
Agreement, among other things, gave Defendants ownership of
such inventions and obligated Defendants to pay royalties to
Biogen for United States sales of the lupus drug Benlysta,
including U.S. Patent No. 8, 071, 092 (the '"092
August 24, 2012, Plaintiff DRIT purchased Biogen's
royalty rights under the Settlement Agreement. Defendants
consented to this purchase and paid royalties to Plaintiff,
as Biogen's assignee, for nearly three years. However, in
April 2015, Defendants filed a request for a statutory
disclaimer of the '092 Patent with the United States
Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO"). Defendants
informed Plaintiff that the statutory disclaimer had the
effect of eliminating any claim for royalties, and stopped
making royalty payments to DRIT on United States sales of
Benlysta from that point forward.
filed this litigation on July 28, 2016, alleging breach of
contract (Count I) and breach of the implied duty of good
faith and fair dealing (Count II). This Court ultimately
dismissed Count I for breach of contract prior to trial. On
April 25, 2018, DRIT amended its Complaint to add a new claim
for breach of contract (Count III), which the Court severed
for later resolution.
September 2018, the parties went to trial solely with respect
to liability on Count II for breach of the duty of good faith
and fair dealing. On September 18, 2018, a jury found that
Defendants breached the implied duty of good faith and fair
dealing by statutorily disclaiming the '092 Patent.
Defendants subsequently filed a Motion for Renewed Judgment
as a Matter of Law or, in the Alternative, for a New Trial.
Plaintiff filed a Motion for Determination of Damages and
Entry of Partial Judgment on Counts I and II. This is the
Court's decision on the post-trial Motions.
Defendants' Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of
Law or, in the Alternative, for a New Trial
to Superior Court Civil Rule 50(b):
Whenever a motion for a judgment as a matter of law made at
the close of all the evidence is denied or for any reason is
not granted, the Court is deemed to have submitted the action
to the jury subject to a later determination of the legal
questions raised by the motion... If a verdict was returned,
the Court may ... allow the judgment to stand or may reopen
the judgment and either order a new trial or direct the entry
of judgment as a matter of law.
Rule 50, this Court is required to view the evidence in a
light most favorable to the nonmoving party. In order to grant
Defendants' Motion, this Court must find that
'"there is no legally sufficient evidentiary basis
for a reasonable jury to find for'"
Plaintiff. Thus, "the factual findings of a jury
will not be disturbed if there is any competent
evidence upon which the verdict could reasonably be
motion for a new trial under Rule 59 may be joined with a
renewal of the motion for judgment as a matter of law, or a
new trial may be requested in the
alternative." In considering a motion for a new trial,
the Court should give the jury's verdict "enormous
deference, " and "should not set aside a verdict
... unless, on review of all the evidence, [it] preponderates
so heavily against the jury verdict that a reasonable jury
could not have reached the result." "A new
trial should be granted only when the great weight of the
evidence is against the jury verdict."
first argue they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law
because the "evidence at trial showed that GSK and
Biogen expressly agreed that GSK's royalty obligation
under the 2008 Agreement would cease if a royalty-bearing
patent was disclaimed." According to Defendants, there
was also no evidence that GSK would have agreed to limit its
"pre-existing right as a patent owner to disclaim its
own patents." Furthermore, GSK contends that
"DRIT's evidence relating to industry norms failed
to provide a legally sufficient evidentiary basis for a
verdict that GSK breached the implied covenant by disclaiming
the '092 Patent, and thereby terminating royalty
obligations under the 2008 Agreement."
response, Plaintiff contends that it presented ample evidence
to support the jury's verdict. DRIT also argues that
testimony from its experts supported the conclusion that
GSK's disclaimer was unreasonable. Furthermore,
Plaintiff claims that Defendants are not entitled to a new