April 17, 2019 | By McCathern Law
On March 28, 2019, McCathern Partner Isaac Villarreal of the Houston office championed a victory in a lengthy international dispute between his clients, two Mexican legal entities Urelift S.A. de C.V. and Ureteknologia de Mexico S.A. de C.V. (UdeM), against Houston area-based Uretek USA, Inc. in a complex business dispute. The end result was a jury verdict out of the United Stated District Court for the Southern District of Texas awarding Mr. Villarreal’s clients $14.53 million in damages.
This most recent jury verdict is a third round of legal battles between the parties. Beginning in 2011, Mr. Villarreal successfully represented UdeM defending a lawsuit brought by Uretek USA seeking to terminate a sublicense agreement that served as the life blood for Mr. Villarreal’s clients’ business in Mexico. Mr. Villarreal obtained a 2013 jury verdict and final judgment in UdeM’s favor and then successfully defended the appeal of that judgment by Uretek USA to the 5th Court of Appeals in 2014. The a net result of the first two legal fights established that Mr. Villarreal’s clients, Urelift and UdeM, held the exclusive rights to use, sell, and distribute certain technology in the country of Mexico.
In 2016, Mr. Villarreal and his clients learned of a scheme set up by Uretek USA to bypass exclusivity and non-compete provisions of the sublicense agreement. Mr. Villarreal and his clients believed that the scheme constituted a breach of the sublicense agreement by Uretek USA that caused Mr. Villarreal’s client significant contractual and lost profit damages. A third legal battle ensued in the Southern District of Texas. After a two-plus-year pre-trial fight filled with unique complex international evidentiary issues and complex legal questions, the case went to trial. After a week-long jury trial, where Mr. Villarreal was assisted by McCathern Associate Eric Utermohlen and legal assistant Sebastian Campos, the jury returned its unanimous verdict in favor of Mr. Villarreal’s clients.
Mr. Villarreal and his team were able to prove that Uretek USA’s scheme and plan seeking to bypass the terms of the sublicense agreement were in fact breaches of several provisions of the sublicense agreement and the jury awarded damages to UdeM and Urelift collectively totaling $14.53 million, which precisely matched Mr. Villarreal’s damage request to the jury on behalf of his clients.
While there remains the possibility of a post-verdict motion practice, the legal battle to turn the verdict into a final judgment, and the potential of a lengthy appeal, Mr. Villarreal could not be happier with the jury verdict.
Mr. Villarreal would like to thank the entire litigation team in the McCathern Houston office for their assistance and effort with this significant firm victory. “Verdicts like this do not come along by chance,” Mr. Villarreal said. “It takes a dedicated team of great lawyers and staff to get these types of complex business lawsuits through trial. The war may not be over, but our team helped our clients win a major battle. Our clients and I are looking forward to the next phase of this fight with our McCathern team.”