The case of Vest Safety Medical Services, LLC v. Arbor Environmental, LLC, No. 4:20-CV-0812, 2022 WL 2812195 (S.D. Tex. June 17, 2022) dealt with two issues involving trade secrets. The first issue considered whether the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA) preempted Vest’s civil conspiracy claim. Ultimately, the court concluded that TUTSA did preempt Vest’s civil conspiracy claim. In reaching this conclusion, the court relied on the fact that this claim did not rely on facts that were distinct from Vest’s TUTSA Claim. In the second issue, the court considered whether Vest provided enough evidence for its misappropriation of a trade secret claims to survive Arbor’s summary judgment. Ultimately, the court concluded that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to all elements of Vest’s misappropriation of a trade secret claims. Continue Reading Southern District of Texas Denies Motion for Summary Judgment on Trade Secrets Claim
For years, it was not uncommon for misappropriation of trade secrets claims to be accompanied by a variety of other common law causes of action such as breach of fiduciary, fraud, and conspiracy. The Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA), however, states that it “displaces conflicting tort, restitutionary, and other law of this state providing civil remedies for misappropriation of a trade secret.” Generally, this provision means that all common law or non-contractual claims based on “the alleged improper taking of trade secret and confidential business information” are preempted. Some cases, though, hold that TUTSA “does not preempt causes of action stemming from the misappropriation of confidential information that is not a trade secret.” The Eastern District of Texas explored this split in the case law in BKL Holdings, Inc. v. Globe Life Inc., No. 4:22-CV-00170, 2023 WL 2432012 (E.D. Tex. Mar. 9, 2023). Continue Reading Eastern District of Texas Explores TUTSA’s Preemption Provision
The case of Forum Energy Technologies, Inc. v. Jason Oil & Gas Equipment, LLC, No. H-20-3768, 2022 WL 1103078 (S.D. Tex. April 13, 2022) considered whether the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA) preempted Forum Energy’s claims for unfair competition, conspiracy, and/or tortious interference with prospective business relations. Ultimately, the court determined that only Forum Energy’s tortious interference with prospective business relations was preempted. In reaching this conclusion, the court determined that the underlying facts of Forum Energy’s tortious interference with prospective business relations claim was based on the same underlying facts as its TUTSA claim. However, in determining that TUTSA did not preempt Forum Energy’s other claims, the court relied on the fact that Forum Energy alleged that Jason Oil misappropriated confidential information and not trade secret information.Continue Reading Southern District of Texas Addresses the Issue of Preemption Under TUTSA
Most cases that have evaluated the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) have focused on whether the TCPA applied to the claims. This isn’t the issue in Neurodiagnostic Consultants, LLC v. v. Nallia, No. 03-18-00609-CV, 2019 WL 4231232 (Tex. App.—Austin Sept. 6, 2019, no pet. h.). Instead, Nalia focuses on whether the non-movant offered sufficient proof to defeat a TCPA motion to dismiss.
Continue Reading Austin Court of Appeals Issues Opinion on the TCPA and Conspiracy