McDermott settles with TechnipFMC over COO trade secrets

Photo: Nandu Chitnis

McDermott and Samik Mukherjee have settled with TechnipFMC right before a jury was due to be sworn in Harris County. Terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.

[UPDATE 04-29-19 In its 10-Q McDermott states a settlement has been reached and a confidential amount has been paid to TechnipFMC. In the court documents Mr Mukherjee acknowledges that he retained TechnipFMC’s confidential information and/or trade secrets]

Back in July 2018, Samik Mukherjee resigned from TechnipFMC, where he was the VP of Corporate Development & Strategy, to join McDermott International as its new COO.

Within days, TechnipFMC sued, alleging that Mr Mukherjee stole trade secrets. The court issued a temporary injunction against Mr Mukherjee in which he was prohibited from working for McDermott on bids or projects that Technip were working on and other business development activities. That injunction was still in effect.

Technip was seeking $200 million in compensatory damages, plus punitive damages.



Mistrial declared initially

There was some drama in the court room when the judge declared a mistrial on April 5 before the jury had been sworn in. It’s hard to tell what happened from just the court documents. It appears that, as the lawyers were questioning potential jurors to whittle them down to 12, the judge must have objected to some lines of questioning. The judge then issued an ‘Order in Limine’ which is basically a list of topics or issues that can’t be raised in the court case because they are considered hearsay or irrelevant. After that, she declared a mistrial.

The case was settled Monday 8 April right before a new jury was to be sworn in. The court hasn’t yet received the final settlement agreement and therefore hasn’t formally closed the case. It is unlikely that the settlement agreement will be made public. If details become public, I will post them here.

McDermott CEO received a subpoena

The settlement also avoids potential embarrassment for McDermott CEO David Dickson (who is a former employee of TechnipFMC). He received a subpoena on the Thursday April 4 to appear as a witness in the trial. Steve Allen, VP of HR for McDermott also received a subpoena.

TechnipFMC v Mukherjee docket

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