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Heath Coffman is a shareholder at Brackett & Ellis, P.C. in Fort Worth, Texas.  His practice includes commercial litigation, intellectual property, collections, professional malpractice defense, fiduciary litigation, and appeals.  You can contact him directly at hcoffman@belaw.com.

Congratulations to my colleague Angelique McCall.  She recently published two articles on Amazon’s Neutral Patent Evaluation in The Tipsheet, the newsletter of the Intellectual Property Section of the Texas State Bar.  You can also find the articles on IP Watchdog
Continue Reading Navigating Amazon’s Neutral Patent Evaluation in Real Life

Recently, trade secrets lawyer Patrick J. Huston sent me a copy of his new work The Law of Trade Secrets Under the Uniform Trade Secret Act.  I appreciated receiving this work, which is a comprehensive overview of trade secrets law under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act
Continue Reading The Law of Trade Secrets Under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act

In June 2020, the San Antonio Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Title Source, Inc. v. HouseCanary, Inc., No. 04-19-00044-CV, 2020 WL 2858866 (Tex. App.–San Antonio June 3, 2020, no pet. h.), reversing and remanding for new trial a $740 million judgment in favor of HouseCanary on its Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA) and fraud claims against Title Source.
Continue Reading Crafting The Jury Charge in Trade Secrets Cases — Lessons from Title Source v. HouseCanary

In 2018, the First Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Gaskamp v. WSP USA, Inc., No. 01-18-00079-CV, 2018 WL 6695810 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 20, 2018, no pet.), which involves the application of Texas’s anti-SLAPP statute the Texas Citizen Participation Act (TCPA) to a trade secrets case.  The Court’s opinion determined that the TCPA applied to such claims and reversed the trial court’s decision in part.  Recently, though, the Court reconsidered its opinion en banc and determined that the TCPA did not apply to the claims.  Gaskamp v. WSP USA, Inc., No. 01-18-00079-CV, 2020 WL 826729 (Tex. App.–Houston [1st Dist.] Feb. 20, 2020, no pet. h.).
Continue Reading Houston’s First Court of Appeals Reverses Itself on the Application of the TCPA to Trade Secret Claims

Beginning with the Texas Supreme Court decisions in Lippincott v. Whisenhunt, 462 S.W.3d 507 (Tex. 2015) and ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. v. Coleman, 512 S.W.3d 895 (Tex. 2017) and continuing with the Austin Court of Appeals 2017 decision in Elite Auto Body LLC, d/b/a Precision Auto Body v. Autocraft Bodywerks, Inc., Texas courts had taken the position that Texas’s anti-SLAAP statute the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) had almost unlimited application to commercial litigation cases such as those involving misappropriation of trade secrets. Beginning in 2019, though, certain courts of appeal have begun to reject or limit those holdings.
Continue Reading Dallas Court of Appeals Continues its Efforts to Restrict the Application of the TCPA

In 2019, the Dallas Court of Appeals issued a decision in Goldberg v. EMR (USA Holdings) Inc., a complex opinion in evaluating the application of the previous version of the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) to trade secrets and other claims.  In 2020, the Court reissued that opinion with a more streamlined analysis.
Continue Reading Dallas Court of Appeals Issues Simplified Opinion in Goldberg Case

Our Brackett & Ellis colleague Jennifer Covington compiled the following helpful summary of the Department of Labor’s guidance to assist employers as they implement the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) which goes into effect on April 1, 2020 and expires December 31, 2020.
Continue Reading Tips on Compliance with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

In EJ Madison, LLC v. Pro-Tech Diesel, Inc., No. 08-17-00229-CV, 2019 WL 6242301, at *1 (Tex. App.–El Paso Nov. 22, 2019, no pet. h.), plaintiff Madison operated a trucking company and defendant Pro-Tech provided maintenance services to the trucks.  The parties entered into a non-disclosure agreement so they could work together on diesel-to-natural gas conversion kits for the trucks.  Additionally, Pro-Tech continued to provide general maintenance work for the trucks.
Continue Reading El Paso Court of Appeals Affirms Dismissal of Trade Secrets Case

One of the open questions for the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) was whether it applied in federal diversity cases.  Last August, the Fifth Circuit finally answered that question in Klocke v. Watson, 936 F.3d 240 (5th Cir. 2019).
Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Holds that the TCPA Does Not Apply to Federal Diversity Cases

Morrison v. Profanchik, No. 05-17-01281-CV, 2019 WL 3798182 (Tex. App.–Dallas Aug. 13, 2019), supplemented, No. 05-17-01281-CV, 2019 WL 5112268 (Tex. App.–Dallas Oct. 10, 2019) is a case involving the summary judgment dismissal of counterclaims for breach of non-disclosure/non-compete agreement and misappropriation of trade secrets.  In Morrison, plaintiff Profanchik approached Stonecoat of Texas about purchasing one of its franchises.  The parties entered into a nondisclosure/noncompete agreement with the understanding that the competitor would be divulging confidential and trade secret information as part of the due diligence process.  Profanchik, however, later walked away from the deal, started a competing limestone veneer company, and sued Stonecoat and its owners for tort causes of action arising from the parties’ negotiations.
Continue Reading Failure to Specify How Trade Secrets Are Allegedly Being Used Results in Summary Judgment Dismissal of Claims