“Fuck Michael Powell,” said a Home Depot executive about the inventor of a new saw safety device, “Let him sue us.” And that is just what inventor and patent holder Michael Powell did.
Florida U.S. District Judge Daniel Hurley, who heard Powell’s patent infringement case against the massive retailer, called Home Depot callous and arrogant and its litigation tactics “mean” and “nasty” when he ordered Home Depot to pay Michael Powell not only $15M in compensatory damages, but an additional $5.8M in punitive damages for intentional and willful nature of Home Depot’s actions.
With prejudgment interest of nearly $1M per year, accruing from the issuance of Powell’s patent in 2006, the total comes to just about $25M. Since the installation of Powell’s safety device, Home Depot’s payments for claims relating to injuries from the type of saw in question dropped from $1M the year before the device was installed to $7,000 the year after the device was installed. Home Depot is considering an appeal.