- Associated Press - Friday, September 25, 2015

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A Douglas County jury has awarded Omaha software developer Baldwin Hackett & Meeks Inc. $43.8 million in a lawsuit that accused a rival software firm of violating antitrust laws and breaching a nondisclosure agreement.

Thursday’s award was the second time a jury has ruled against ACI Worldwide, which was founded in Omaha but has since relocated its headquarters to Naples, Florida. ACI has more than 4,500 employees worldwide, including several hundred in Omaha, according to its website.

The conflict between the two firms came to a head in 2011, when ACI sued Baldwin Hackett & Meeks, commonly known as BHMI, accusing the Omaha company of pirating ACI’s software to process debit and credit card transactions for banks. A jury sided with BHMI in that lawsuit last year.

In a countersuit, BHMI accused ACI of violating antitrust laws and interfering with BHMI’s business relationships when its lawsuit cost BHMI a multimillion-dollar contract and ACI threatened to sue any business that used BHMI’s software. BHMI also accused ACI of breaching a nondisclosure agreement.

ACI had signed that nondisclosure agreement when it was allowed in 2011 to see parts of BHMI’s software manuals in an effort by BHMI to prove it had not pirated any of it.

The jury award Thursday came on that countersuit, finding that ACI violated Nebraska’s antitrust law, interfered with a BHMI’s business relationship and breached the nondisclosure agreement.

The jury calculated the damages based on BHMI’s estimate that it would have signed two licenses a year in 2012, 2013 and 2014 with clients, which would likely have been renewed.

“We’re pleased that two juries have now found for BHMI, and we’re grateful for the hard work of both juries,” BHMI attorney Mike Coyle said Friday.

ACI spokesman Dan Ring said Friday that the Florida company disagrees with the jury verdict and intends to appeal.

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