The case of EthosEnergy Field Services, LLC v. Axis Mechanical Group, Inc., H-21-3954, 2022 WL 2707734 (S.D. Tex. June 10, 2022) considered whether Ethos pled with sufficient detail its Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) and Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA) claims. Additionally, the court considered whether TUTSA preempted Ethos’s unfair competition by misappropriation claim. Ultimately, the court determined that Ethos sufficiently pled its DTSA and TUTSA claims. However, the court also determined that TUTSA preempted Ethos’s unfair competition by misappropriation claim. Continue Reading Southern District of Texas Explores Trade Secrets Claims in the 12(b)(6) Context
The case of Recif Res., LLC v. Juniper Capital Advisors, L.P., No. CV H-19-2953, 2020 WL 6748049 (S.D. Tex. Nov. 17, 2020), arose out of failed discussions between potential investors in an oil and gas development project. Ultimately, the Court concluded that the plaintiff Recif Resources, LLC (Recif) failed to present evidence showing that its alleged trade secrets had economic value or that the defendants, collectively called Juniper, used those trade secrets.
Continue Reading Failure to Prove Independent Economic Value in Oil & Gas Trade Secrets Case
Title Source, Inc. v. HouseCanary, Inc., No. 04-19-00044-CV, 2020 WL 5027667 (Tex. App.—San Antonio Aug. 26, 2020, pet. granted) is a new case addressing the jury charge in Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA) cases. In a previous post, I discussed the Casteel problem in the misappropriation instructions that resulted in reversal of this multi-million dollar judgment and the court’s evaluation of the evidence supporting the existence of the trade secrets. (For complete discussion of the facts, please see this previous blog post. Since I wrote that post, the Court withdrew its earlier opinion and held, in addition to its previous holdings, that HouseCanary must also retry its breach of non-disclosure agreement claims if it elects on remand to retry its TUTSA claims because the claims were not separable from each other without unfairness to the parties.)
Continue Reading Even More Lessons from Title Source v. HouseCanary
In Six Dimensions, Inc. v. Perficient, Inc., No. 19-20505, 2020 WL 4557640 (5th Cir. Aug. 7, 2020), the Fifth Circuit explores the issue of what happens when an employer hires a new employee who is in possession of his former employer’s trade secrets. In Six Dimensions, plaintiff Six Dimensions’ former employee left his Six Dimensions employment with a USB drive of Six Dimensions’ training materials. The employee started work at competitor Perficient and brought with him the USB drive. The evidence at trial demonstrated that there was discussion between the employee and Perficient about uploading the Six Dimensions’ training materials to Perficient’s server, but Perficient ultimately decided not to use the training materials.
Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Affirms Trial Court’s Judgment that Competitor Did Not Misappropriate Trade Secrets
Title Source, Inc. v. HouseCanary, Inc., No. 04-19-00044-CV, 2020 WL 2858866 (Tex. App.–San Antonio June 3, 2020, pet. granted) is a new case addressing the jury charge in Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA) cases. In my previous post about the case, I discussed the Casteel problem in the misappropriation instructions that resulted in reversal of this multi-million dollar judgment. (For a complete discussion of the facts, please see this previous blog post.) The court, however, addressed more than the just the misappropriation question.
Continue Reading More Lessons from Title Source v. HouseCanary
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 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
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
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
Pearl Energy Inv. Mgmt., LLC v. Gravitas Res. Corp., No. 05-18-01012-CV, 2019 WL 3729501 (Tex. App.—Dallas Aug. 7, 2019, no pet.) is a trade secrets case involving the previous version of Texas’s anti-SLAPP statute the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA). (Effective September 1, 2019, the TCPA no longer applies to trade secrets claims.) In Pearl Energy, Gravitas, an oil and gas production company, alleged that it spent years researching and evaluating the purchase of certain natural gas assets in Utah from Anadarko. In 2016, Gravitas approached Anadarko about purchasing the assets. Gravitas eventually won the bid for the assets and began negotiating a purchase and sale agreement for the assets.
Continue Reading Dallas Court of Appeals Affirms Denial of TCPA Motion in Trade Secrets Case