Title Insurer Amrock’s Lawsuit Backfires to songof $706M



An affiliate of mortgage-lending firm Quicken Loans Inc. filed a fraud suit to back out of a software take care of a hoemployingdata-analytics firm, serving the complaint at a industrydisplayin front of the beginningup’s customers and contacting the professionalject a bust.

A Texas jury didn’t buy it — and that instead punished the affiliate with a verdict of just about three-quarters of 1000000000 dollars.

Amrock Inc., which calls itself the largest independent title-insurance and valuation firm within the united states, accused San Francisco-based HouseCanary Inc. in 2016 of professionalviding “completely unusable” software for appraisal and valuation facilitiesunder a multimillion-dollar contract. Amrock’s attorney, Peter Wahby, didn’t pull any punches on the top of a six-week trial, telling jurors that HouseCanary’s code was like a car and not using an engine.

“that is not what we contracted for,” Wahby, of Greenberg Traurig LLP in Dallas, said in his closing statement to the court, in line with a transcript of the professionalceeding. “that is not whon they promised.”

But jurors didn’t see it that way. After deliberating for 3 hours, the 12-person panel this week unanimously rejected Amrock’s claims. Instead, jurors found Amrock actually tapped HouseCanary’s proprietary knowledgeand technology “with malice” to secretly develop competing software. In doing so, the jury found, Amrock violated a “strict” non-disclosure agreement, in addition to a 201fivemaster licensing deal between the 2 firms.

‘Exemplary’ Damages

the outcome stunned Detroit-based Amrock and that its lawyers: $706 million in damages were awarded to deal withCanary, dwarfing the unique $fivemillion annual chargemrock had tried to circumvent with its lawsuit. The jury included “exemplary” and punitive damages to punish the corporate’s conduct.

on the guts of the case was HouseCanary’s industrysecrets, which it describes in court papers as “highly valuable proprietary software, algorithms, models, data, reports, forms, knowledgesources, knowhow, techniques, and strategies when it comes to variousaspects of real estate valuation.”

the beginningup argues its facilitiesare so unique and beneficial to the induscheck outmrock and Quicken both sshould realize access to its technology under “the guise of licensing and business partnership,” althoughQuicken isn’t named as a defendant within the complaint.

“This verdict is a travesty of justice,” Amrock Chief Executive Officer Jeff Eisenshtadt said in an email. “Amrock will appeal and explore all avenues to make sure justice and sanity are applied to the realitys of this situation.”

Eisenshtadt blamed the end partially on a “proplaintiff law firm” that had “spun a distorted and twisted counterclaim narrative.”

But HouseCanary’s attorney, Max Tribble, said the topdamages showed the strength of his case. He said the award was particularly large because Amrock’s witnesses were repeatedly shown to be untruthful, with their very own internal documents used against them during cross-examinations.

‘Told the reality’

“The trial lasted see you later largely as a result of the lengthy means of professionalving point by point that just about everything they said was untrue,” Tribble, of Susman Godfrey LLP in Houston, said in a phone call. “the entire trial would have taken five days if everyone had simplygotten up there and told the reality.”

In Tribble’s closing statement, he sshould underscore the allegedly false testimony by reminding jurors about certainly one of Amrock’s claims — non-disclosure agreement between the companieswasn’t valid because Amrock — then referred to as Title Source — hadn’t signed it. But through the trial, he said, an indicationed version of the deal was produced by HouseCanary.

“that they had it the entire time, and yet they seem to be arguing on this situation ‘Oh, Title Source never signed it,'” Tribble told the jury, in line with the transcript. “I mean, how much of a waste of time? what number of days did we waste on that?”

HouseCanary boasts in court papers that its facilitiesmight assistanceavoid another hoemployingbubble by removing imrightvaluations, and boost benefitfor companieswithin the induscheck outon the similar time. That helped the corporate raise $68 million from investors including Alphabet Inc. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt’s family office, former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s PSP Growth/PSP Capital and Alpha Edison.

Quicken Statement

Amrock is a unit of Detroit-based Rock Holdings, which owns companies including Quicken and coffeeerMyBills. Quicken said in a press release that neither it nor Rock Holdings were subject to liskillwithin the case.

“Quicken Loans and Rock Holdings Inc. were never a celebration to the contract at factorand there has been never a single claim filed against Quicken Loans or Rock Holdings, Inc. on this lawsuit,” in line with the statement.

at the los angelesst day of trial, after Tribble reminded the jury of what he known aslie after lie after lie, Wahby urged jurors to rigorously think abouthis argument too, comparing the dispute to pancakes made with batter that’s slightly too thin.

“regardless of methodsthin that pancake gets, regardless of methodsrunny you are making it, there’s almethodsa second side to that pancake,” he said. “there’s almethodsa second side.”

The jury flipped the pancake.

The case is Title Source Inc. v. HouseCanary Inc., 2016CI06300, 73rd Judicial District Court of Bexar County, Texas (San Antonio).