Chicago, IL. Nixon Peabody secured $38.2 million in damages for Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.—a subsidiary of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company—in its fraud claim against Harpoon Therapeutics, Inc., in Delaware Chancery Court. With prejudgment interest (dating back to January 2017), the court’s decision resulted in more than $49 million due to Millennium.
Nixon Peabody was retained in Spring 2019 in advance of an expedited September 2019 liability trial that ruled in Millennium’s favor on its fraud claim. In a little more than six months, Nixon Peabody prepared for trial involving a cutting-edge technology—the use of conditionally active T-cell therapies for potential cancer cures. In April 2020, the court ruled on liability, finding that Nixon Peabody proved fraud even though the contract was not breached. The court then set a damages hearing in September 2020.
Nixon Peabody tried the damages component remotely from its Chicago office. Harpoon disputed the fact of damages. The court concluded “there is no doubt” that Millennium satisfied this element. Harpoon also disputed the amount of damages (arguing there were none) and, alternatively, that the damages were no more than $400,000 to $1.7 million due to the uncertainty of future commercialization in this developing field of conditionally active T-cell treatments for cancer.
The court rejected Harpoon’s arguments and found that Millennium’s damages were significant. In the court’s words, “Millennium did not receive all that it reasonably expected from its investment.” In response to Harpoon’s alternative arguments, the court noted that any “uncertainty cannot be used to benefit a fraudster.”
“Congratulations to Millennium and our team of litigators, as this was a hard-fought and well-earned victory,” said Ethan Trull and John Ruskusky, partners in Nixon Peabody’s Complex Commercial Disputes practice who led the damages trial team that advised Millennium. “Despite the adjustments of trying this case remotely, our team persevered, going to great lengths to do what was needed to secure the outcome our clients deserve.”
Nixon Peabody Intellectual Property partner Mark FitzGerald, Complex Commercial Disputes associate Tarae Howell, and patent specialist Angela Hafner also played integral roles in the initial fraud win for Millennium in 2020.