In Jones v. Frisco Fertility Center, PLLC, No. 05-21-00008-CV, 2022 WL 17248837 (Tex. App.—Dallas Nov. 28, 2022, pet. filed), the Dallas Court of Appeals addressed whether plaintiff Frisco Fertility Center’s (FFC) request for an injunction against its former employee Dr. Jones qualified as a legal action under the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA). Specifically, the court of appeals addressed the meaning of the phrase “legal action” under the TCPA and whether a request for injunctive relief can serve as a separate legal action under the TCPA when the request is only a component of the relief sought in an action pending in arbitration.Continue Reading Dallas Court of Appeals Addresses the Meaning of “Legal Action” Under the TCPA
The case of Bureau Veritas Commodities and Trade, Inc. v. Cotecna Inspection SA, No. 4:21-CV-00622, 2022 WL 912781 (S.D. Tex. 2022) dealt with the application of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) to claims under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) and the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA). Ultimately, the Southern District of Texas determined that the Plaintiff successfully plead a claim under DTSA and TUTSA. In reaching this conclusion, the court determined that the Plaintiff was not required to plead detailed descriptions of its trade secret in a public complaint, especially without a court order in place. Continue Reading Southern District of Texas Explains Pleading Requirement for Trade Secrets Cases
In the case of Scientific Machine & Welding, Inc. v. Rose, No. 03-20-00564-CV, 2022 WL 850409 (Tex. App.—Austin Mar. 23, 2022, no pet.), the Texas Court of Appeals determined (1) if the steps taken by the plaintiff amounted to a “reasonable measure” of keeping the relative information a trade secret, (2) whether Scientific came forth with legally sufficient evidence to support claims of breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract, (3), whether Scientific’s claim of a “breach of implied contract of confidentiality” existed under Texas Law. Continue Reading Texas Court of Appeal Evaluates What Actions Constitute “Reasonable Measures” to Keep a Trade Secret
The case of Pittsburgh Logistics Sys., Inc. v. Barricks, No. :20-CV-04282, 2022 WL 705870 (S.D. Tex. 2022), dealt with determining whether a customer list was a trade secret under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) and the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act (TUTSA). Additionally, this case dealt with determining whether Pittsburgh Logistics Systems’s (PLS) claims for unfair competition, tortious interference with prospective business, and breach of fiduciary duty were preempted by TUTSA. Ultimately, the court determined that a factual issue existed as to whether PLS’s customer list was a trade secret. Moreover, the court determined that the TUTSA preempted PLS’s claims for unfair competition, tortious interference with prospective business, and breach of fiduciary duty.Continue Reading Southern District of Texas Holds that There is a Fact Issue on Whether a Customer List is a Trade Secret
The case of Six Dimensions, Inc. v. Perficient, Inc., 969 F.3d 219 (5th Cir. 2020), dealt with the application of non-compete provisions in employee contracts after certain employees left to work for a competitor. Ultimately, on the trade secrets issue, the Fifth Circuit determined that the plaintiff Six Dimensions failed to provide evidence that the defendant Perficient acquired the trade secrets within the meaning of the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA). Therefore, the Court affirmed the decision of the District Court not to grant a new trial on this issue.
Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Holds that Employee’s Possession of Trade Secrets Does Not Establish that the New Employer Acquired Trade Secrets
Courts will not enforce non-compete provisions in employment contracts when the employer breached the employment contract, too. That is the lesson of Insgroup, Inc. v. Langley, No. 14-18-01071-CV, 2020 WL 1679401 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] Apr. 7, 2020, no pet. h.).
Continue Reading Employer’s Breach of Agreement Containing Non-Compete Provision Results in Court’s Denial of Request to Enforce Non-Compete Provision
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
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