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The Epic Systems lawsuit filed against Tata Consultancy Services was heard in Madison's federal courthouse, above, where Judge. William M. Conley presided.

CRAIG SCHREINER

A federal court judge has reduced a massive payout that a jury awarded to the Verona-based health care tech firm Epic Systems Corp. last year in a lawsuit over alleged computer fraud and stealing of trade secrets.

Judge William Conley handed down an order on Friday to reduce the damages that Tata Consultancy Services, a massive technology firm headquartered in India, would have to pay Epic from $940 million to $420 million. He also dismissed a motion by Tata to reconsider the jury’s verdict, along with counter-allegations that Tata had filed.

The decision came three days before Epic attorneys prepared to make their case in a separate high-profile lawsuit before the Supreme Court.

In its initial complaint filed in October of 2014, Epic accused Tata of waging an “elaborate campaign of deception to steal documents, confidential information, trade secrets, and other information and data from Epic.”

More specifically, Epic claimed that a Tata employee posing as a worker with Kaiser Permanente, a massive California health system and one of Epic’s biggest customers, downloaded troves of private documents they weren’t supposed to from an online database. Epic also alleged that the employee passed along login information to other Tata staff.

Epic claimed that Tata stole the information to gain a competitive edge in the electronic medical records market. The company manufactures its own line of medical records software, called Med Mantra.

Conley’s ruling Friday upheld a jury decision from last year that Tata is indeed liable. He also dismissed a Tata countersuit with an assortment of allegations, including breaking anti-monopoly laws and “spying.” Tata cited an email in which Epic’s CEO Judy Faulkner apparently called on Epic employees of Indian descent to go to health facilities in India using Med Mantra to view their patient records, for “sleuthing” purposes.

Conley agreed with Epic’s argument that such patient records are “publicly viewable,” and therefore looking at them wouldn't amount to stealing trade secrets.

Tata released a statement to its investors on the latest ruling, in which it suggested it may appeal the decision to a higher court. Epic declined to comment on the new ruling.

Erik Lorenzsonn is the Capital Times' tech and culture reporter. He joined the team in 2016, after having served as an online editor for Wisconsin Public Radio and having written for publications like The Progressive Magazine and The Poughkeepsie Journal.