AngioScore $20M Win for Fiduciary Breach Wiped Out

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By Tony Dutra

July 21 — Balloon catheter maker AngioScore Inc. lost a $20 million award for breach of fiduciary duty after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled July 21 that a lower court didn't have jurisdiction in the case ( AngioScore, Inc. v. TriReme Med., LLC , 2016 BL 233848, Fed. Cir., No. 2016-1126, 7/21/16 ).

AngioScore had eased co-founder Eitan Konstantino out of the company, and Konstantino developed the Chocolate balloon catheter with his new outfit, TriReme Medical LLC. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California went ahead and took the case when AngioScore complained that Konstantino was supposed to have offered it the technology first. This was a state law matter, but the federal trial court took the case because AngioScore had also included a claim under federal patent law.

However, the Federal Circuit, in a nonprecedential opinion, said that the two issues were unrelated, and Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers shouldn't have exercised supplemental jurisdiction over the state law piece of the case.

Source Material:

Case below (N.D. Cal.): No. 4:12-cv-033932015 BL 211664 (findings on breach) (July 1, 2015) Doc. No. 812 (judgment) (Oct. 14, 2015)

U.S. Patent:No. 7,691,119

The fiduciary duty breach charge required Rogers to assess only whether Chocolate was a “corporate opportunity” for AngioScore, the court said. Although she needed a general understanding of how Chocolate operated to know whether it was in the same line of business as AngioScore's AngioSculpt devices, there was no overlap between that underlying set of facts and what the patent infringement claim called for, the court said.

The appeals court reversed the judgment and remanded the matter back to the trial court with instructions to dismiss the state law claims.

In the lower court, a jury had found that certain claims of AngioScore's U.S. Patent No. 7,691,119 were invalid and not infringed by Chocolate.

AngioScore is a wholly owned subsidiary of Spectranetics Corp. of Colorado Springs, Colo. In a press release, Spectranetics said it was confident in the merits of the case and is evaluating its next steps, which might include a state court filing of the breach complaint.

TriReme is a subsidiary of Singapore-based QT Vascular Ltd., a co-defendant in the case.

Judge Todd M. Hughes wrote the court's opinion, which was joined by Judges Jimmie Reyna and S. Jay Plager.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP represented AngioScore. Arnold & Porter LLP represented TriReme.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Dutra in Washington at adutra@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mike Wilczek at mwilczek@bna.com

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