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 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

The case of Mesquite Servs., LLC v. Standard E&S, LLC, No. 07-19-00440-CV, 2020 WL 5540189 (Tex. App.—Amarillo Sept. 15, 2020, no pet.), arose from a dispute over a non-compete agreement and examined the role that the former version of the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) can play in a misappropriation of trade secrets claim under the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA). Ultimately, the Seventh Court of Appeals, Amarillo concluded that conclusory allegations, without more, did not meet the clear and specific evidence standard prescribed under the TCPA.
Continue Reading Conclusory Allegations Do Not Meet the Clear and Specific Evidence Standard under the TCPA

Recently, the First District Court of Appeals, Houston affirmed a take-nothing judgment against all parties. Malone v. PLH Group, Inc., 01-19-00016-CV, 2020 WL 1680058, at *1 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Apr. 7, 2020, pet. denied). The defendant in Malone Power Line Services, Inc. (PLS) constructed electrical transmission lines, built distribution systems, and provided construction services. The plaintiff Thomas Malone (Malone) entered into a three-year employment agreement with PLS in 2014 to serve as its Vice President of Operations. The employment agreement prohibited Malone from competing against PLS, soliciting PLS’s employees, and disclosing confidential information through restrictive covenants.
Continue Reading Proving the Element of “Use” for a Trade Secrets Claim Requires Either Harm to the Defendant or Enrichment of the Plaintiff