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Macquarie Bank Ltd. v. Knickel

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

March 10, 2015, Submitted; July 17, 2015, Filed

No. 14-1683, No. 14-1684

Opinion

 [***1851]  [*929]   WOLLMAN, Circuit Judge.

Macquarie Bank Limited (Macquarie Bank) and a subsidiary brought suit against LexMac Energy, L.P. (LexMac); Novus Operating Company, L.P. (Novus); Lexar Energy, Inc. (Lexar); and Bradley Knickel, who controls all three companies (collectively, Lexar Group). Macquarie Bank and the subsidiary alleged claims of deceit, fraud, and promissory estoppel, among others, and also alleged that the corporate veil of the three companies should be pierced to hold Knickel personally liable. In their answer, LexMac, Novus, and Lexar sought declaratory judgment and alleged claims of misappropriation of trade secrets and unlawful interference with business, among others, against Macquarie Bank and third-party defendant Macquarie Barnett, LLC (Macquarie LLC), another subsidiary of Macquarie Bank. The district court1 disposed of all claims before trial except LexMac and Novus's misappropriation claim. After a bench trial, the district court found that Macquarie Bank and Macquarie  [*930]  LLC had misappropriated trade secrets, and it awarded damages, prejudgment interest, and attorney's fees.

Macquarie Bank and Macquarie LLC (collectively, Macquarie) appeal. Macquarie Bank argues that its claims of deceit, fraud, and promissory estoppel should have survived summary judgment. Macquarie argues that there was insufficient evidence to establish that it had misappropriated trade secrets; that LexMac and Novus were not entitled to attorney's fees; and that the district court erred in calculating damages. Lexar Group filed a collective cross-appeal. Lexar argues that the district court's grant of summary judgment to Macquarie on Lexar's claims was procedurally and substantively improper. LexMac and Novus argue that the district court erred in calculating damages. We affirm.

I. Background

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793 F.3d 926 *; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12356 **; 115 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1849 ***

Macquarie Bank Limited, Plaintiff - Appellant, Macquarie Americas Corp., Plaintiff v. Bradley D. Knickel; LexMac Energy, L.P.; Lexar Energy, Inc.; Novus Operating Company, L.P., Defendants - Appellees, KHL, Inc.; Mineral Land Services, Inc., Defendants v. Macquarie Barnett, LLC, Third Party Defendant - Appellant;Macquarie Bank Limited, Plaintiff - Appellee, Macquarie Americas Corp., Plaintiff v. LexMac Energy, L.P.; Lexar Energy, Inc.; Novus Operating Company, L.P., Defendants - Appellants, Bradley D. Knickel; KHL, Inc.; Mineral Land Services, Inc., Defendants v. Macquarie Barnett, LLC, Third Party Defendant - Appellee

Prior History:  [**1] Appeals from United States District Court for the District of North Dakota - Bismarck.

Macquarie Bank v. Knickel, 723 F. Supp. 2d 1161, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65844 (D.N.D., June 30, 2010)Lexar Energy, Inc. v. Macquarie Bank Ltd., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134094 (D.N.D., Dec. 17, 2010)LexMac Energy, L.P. v. Macquarie Bank Ltd., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161221 (D.N.D., Nov. 8, 2012)LexMac Energy, L.P. v. Macquarie Bank Ltd., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188438 (D.N.D., Feb. 19, 2014)Macquarie Bank Ltd. v. Knickel, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31903 (D.N.D., Mar. 15, 2011)

CORE TERMS

leases, trade secret, district court, misappropriation, collateral, Mortgage, argues, credit agreement, damages, renew, acreage, expired, summary judgment, deceit, grant summary judgment, unlawful interference, promise, oil, reserves, parties, management company, attorney's fees, calculated, bid, rights, promissory estoppel, punitive damages, subsidiary, assigned, brokers

Business & Corporate Compliance, Contracts Law, Contract Conditions & Provisions, Forum Selection Clauses, Civil Procedure, Federal & State Interrelationships, Choice of Law, Forum & Place, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Appropriateness, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Legal Entitlement, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Clear & Convincing Proof, Torts, Fraud & Misrepresentation, Actual Fraud, Elements, Contract Formation, Consideration, Promissory Estoppel, Allocation, Business & Corporate Law, Shareholder Duties & Liabilities, Piercing the Corporate Veil, General Overview, Motions for Summary Judgment, Notice Requirement, Trade Secrets Law, Misappropriation Actions, Elements of Misappropriation, Definitions of Misappropriation, Business Relationships, Intentional Interference, Clearly Erroneous Review, Questions of Fact & Law, Trade Secret Determination Factors, Definition Under Uniform Act, Remedies, Damages, Compensatory Damages, Unjust Enrichment, Appellate Briefs, Reviewability of Lower Court Decisions, Costs & Attorney Fees, Types of Damages, Punitive Damages, Aggravating Circumstances