Top Online Real Estate Companies Settle Trade Secret Litigation for $130 Million

In this matter, Compass Lexecon was retained by Jenner & Block LLP on behalf of Move, Inc. (owned by News Corp) in its suit against Zillow and former Move employees Errol Samuelson and Curt Beardsley. Plaintiffs alleged that Samuelson and Beardsley left Move to join Zillow in March 2014, taking with them dozens of trade secrets as well as confidential information about Move’s plans to merge with online real estate firm Trulia. Compass Lexecon Senior Consultant Professor Bradford Cornell and accounting expert Gordon Klein were retained as experts in the case. Both were deposed and between them issued five expert reports in the case. We also assisted attorneys in two mediations and in responding to the claims of defendants’ 11 opposing experts.

Dr. Cornell computed damages under several possible lost profits and unjust enrichment theories, including an unjust enrichment analysis based on anticipated merger synergies in the Zillow/Trulia merger, as well as damages from interference with Move’s plans to create an industry-standard real estate platform. Accounting expert Gordon Klein analyzed and rebutted defendants’ claims about disclosure obligations under GAAP and SEC rules. The case settled on the first day of trial for $130 million.

Dr. Cornell was supported by a Compass Lexecon team from our Pasadena office led by Elisabeth Browne and included May Huang, James Tam, Marc Huntley, Cathy Pang and others. Gordon Klein was supported by another Compass Lexecon Pasadena team also led by Elisabeth Browne and included Eric Madsen.

Compass Lexecon worked with Move’s attorneys, Rick Richmond, Richard L. Stone, Brent Caslin and Daniel A. Rozansky of Jenner & Block LLP.