Mandel v. Thrasher

Case Type:
Case Status:
17-40059 (5th Circuit, Feb 15,2018) Published
The bankruptcy court fulfilled its obligations under the Fifth Circuit's remand. The bankruptcy court adequately explained how it arrived at the damages awarded against the debtor-appellant, and such explanations were not the product of clear error or legal error.
Procedural context:
This opinion resulted from (i) the debtor-appellant's bankruptcy, in which the bankruptcy court found the debtor-appellant liable for nondischargeable debts, (ii) the appeal of the bankruptcy court's award of damages against the debtor-appellant, and (iii) the Court of Appeals' remand with the instruction that the bankruptcy court either explain how it arrived at the damages amounts or conduct an evidentiary hearing. The bankruptcy court took the former approach. The debtor-appellant appealed again. And lost.
Debtor-appellant Mandel formed a company (White Nile) with Thrasher to develop Thasher's invention. Mandel misappropriated White Nile's trade secrets. Mandel filed for bankruptcy relief. The bankruptcy court held Mandel liable for, among other things, misappropriation and breach of fiduciary duty. On the first trip to the Fifth Circuit, the Court of Appeals affirmed the liability holdings but remanded to the bankruptcy court for an additional evidentiary hearing or for detailed findings explaining its damages award.

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