JT Packard Acquired, Settles UPS Suits
January 3rd, 2007 By: Rich Miller
JT Packard has settled legal disputes over uninterrupted power supply (UPS) technologies with MGE UPS Systems and Eaton Powerware, clearing the way for new owner Power Plus to acquire the remainder of JT Packard’s shares. The settlement was prompted by the threat of financial sanctions from a Tennessee judge presiding over one of the cases, and ends a protracted legal dispute between the companies.
“The settlements resolved the legal disputes to the parties’ satisfaction, eliminating the distraction of prolonged litigation and allowing them to pursue more productive business objectives,” JT Packard said in a statement, adding that the terms of the settlements are confidential.
In October 16, Power Plus acquired 80 percent of JT Packard from company founder Jeff Cason, the sole shareholder. With the settlements completed, Power Plus has bought the final 20 percent of JT Packard’s shares from Cason, who has left the company. JT Packard was included on Inc. magazine’s list of the 500 fastest-growing companies in each of the past two years, ranking 332nd in 2005 and improving to 245th in 2006.
The company began selling UPS equipment in 1997, and three years later expanded into servicing customer equipment as well. That brought it into conflict with MGE, which sued JT Packard in 2004 as part of a broader legal action targeting 17 companies that MGE claimed were “infringing on MGE’s proprietary maintenance software and misappropriating trade secrets.” The suit alleged that JT Packard had obtained MGE software and data containing trade secrets. Packard and Cason denied any wrongdoing, arguing that MGE’s software was anti-competitive because it forced customers to rely solely upon MGE for service.
Last month federal Judge William J. Haynes Jr. ruled that JT Packard and Cason had violated an earlier order to surrender software and data belonging to MGE, according to an account in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Haynes imposed a financial sanction, ordering Packard and Cason to pay MGE 30 percent of Packard’s gross revenue dating back to mid-2004. Three days after the contempt finding, lawyers for both sides told Haynes they were preparing to settle.
Carey O’Connor, marketing communications specialist for Packard, told the Journal-Sentinel that the company’s “ability to service multiple brands and models was unaffected by the settlements.” Charley Eaton, previously an executive vice president at Packard, has replaced Cason as president.