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News in brief

March 31, 2021 at 2:26 a.m.

$95M Walmart outlay

tossed in N.C. case

An appeals court has overturned a $95.5 million verdict against Walmart Inc. in a trademark-infringement lawsuit.

The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals said Monday in an unpublished opinion that the jury that awarded the damages to plaintiff Variety Stores Inc. in 2019 was not properly instructed by a lower court.

Variety Stores' lawsuit, filed in 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, argued that Walmart's Backyard Grill + Design trademark was likely to be confused with the North Carolina company's Backyard and Backyard BBQ trademarks.

The jury in the federal court trial found that Walmart willfully infringed on Variety Stores' trademark by selling grills and grilling products under the Backyard Grill name. Court records state that the jury's award to Variety Stores represented "reasonable royalties and disgorgement of profits."

Walmart appealed the jury's decisions.

In oral arguments before the appellate court panel in December, an attorney for Walmart said the jury was not told the legal definition of willfulness, or intention to infringe on another company's trademark.

An attorney for Variety Stores countered that proof of willfulness isn't required under the law for awards or damages, according to court records.

The case is Variety Stores Inc. v. Walmart Inc.

-- Serenah McKay

Apartments in Cabot

purchased for $10M

An East Coast investment group is paying $10.1 million cash to purchase the 120-unit Greystone Woods apartment complex in Cabot.

The purchase was made by Deancurt Cabot LLC tied to an investment group that owns 15,000 apartment units nationwide, according to Thomas Schmidt of Flake & Co. He represented the buyer along with Philip Schmidt of Kelley Commercial.

The apartment complex was sold by Greystone Apartment Co. of Cabot. The development on Arkansas 5 was built in 2007 and refers to its units as luxury townhomes with rents beginning at about $625 monthly for a one-bedroom unit.

"This has been a historically successful complex with a long wait list," Thomas Schmidt said in a statement.

-- Andrew Moreau

Index ends at 605.89

after day's 6.63 gain

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Tuesday at 605.89, up 6.63.

"U.S. stocks finished slightly lower on Tuesday, as the S&P 500 financial, industrial and consumer discretionary sectors moved higher, as investors extend their recent rotation out of growth and into so-called value names," said Chris Harkins, managing director for Raymond James & Associates.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.


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