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Jurors Return $27M Poultry Verdict

April 11, 1999

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ A man who said Perdue Farms Inc. betrayed a confidentiality agreement and stole his secret method of preparing roasted chicken was awarded $27 million by a jury.

It is now up to a judge to decide how much the nation’s third-largest poultry company must pay to Dennis P. Hook in punitive damages. The jury awarded the compensatory damages on Friday.

Judge Robert H. Bonanno must also decide whether to halt Perdue’s marketing and sale of TenderReady chicken

Hook said Perdue’s TenderReady chicken was based on his idea.

The method of preparation worked on much the same principle as boil-in-the-bag vegetables. The chicken was fully cooked and could be heated quickly _ important qualities in the fast-food industry.

Hook had an agreement with Pizza Hut in the early 1990s to develop his method. Pizza Hut turned to Perdue for poultry.

Hook said he demonstrated his process to Perdue, and the company signed a confidentiality agreement which he claimed they then broke.

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