9th Circuit upholds entire $28.4M verdict in lawsuit over bus-routing software

An appeals court has upheld the entire $28.4 million jury award in a lawsuit filed by a Missoula software company against the largest school bus company in North America.

Education Logistics Inc. sued Laidlaw Transit in 2007 alleging the company violated a licensing agreement for its software that helps school districts create efficient bus routes.

In 2012, a federal jury in Missoula found the company, now First Student, breached a contract that required it to promote Edulog's software and pay $1,000 in royalties each time the bus company installed the software for a school district. The jury awarded $28.4 million in damages.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy reduced the award to $18.9 million, ruling that some of the damages were duplicative and others were barred by a liability limit in the contract.

First Student appealed the verdict and Edulog appealed the reduced damages to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Missoulian (http://bit.ly/1CxVqfI) reported. In July, the 9th Circuit restored the $9.5 million Molloy cut from the damage award. First Student sought a re-hearing, which the circuit court denied on Aug. 22.

"In my view this is the final judgment," said Ronald Bender, a Missoula attorney on Edulog's legal team.

First Student spokeswoman Jen Biddinger declined to comment Wednesday. Edulog president Jason Corbally declined comment as well, noting First Student could seek to have the U.S. Supreme Court hear an appeal.

Edulog signed a contract with Laidlaw in 1992 giving it exclusive rights to market and use the software for five years, followed by a non-exclusive license after 1997.

After an eight-day trial, a federal court jury found Laidlaw/First Student didn't use its best efforts to promote the software and gave some school districts unlicensed access.


Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com