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
For the last few years, defendants in trade secrets and other commercial litigation claims have used the previous version of Texas’s anti-SLAAP statute the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) as a defense to those claims. Langley v. Insgroup, Inc., No. 14-19-00127-CV, 2020 WL 1679625 (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] Apr. 7, 2020, no pet. h.) is another example of this strategy. In Langley, an insurance salesman left his employer to work for a competitor. The former employer accused the salesman of violating his non-compete agreement, tortious interference with the employer’s contracted clients, breach of fiduciary duty, and violation of the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act. The new employer was also a defendant to several of those causes of action.
Continue Reading TCPA’s Commercial Speech Exemption Applies to Employer’s Claims Against Former Employee
Through most of 2019, the Dallas Court of Appeals has refused to apply the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) to commercial litigation claims. Goldberg v. EMR (USA Holdings) Inc., No. 05-18-00261-CV, 2019 WL 3955771 (Tex. App.–Dallas Aug. 22, 2019, no pet. h.) reverses that trend in part. Goldberg is too complex of a case to summarize here. Therefore, I’ll just hit the highlights:
Continue Reading Dallas Court of Appeals Explores the TCPA in Complex New Decision
If you have been following my blog, you know that Texas’s anti-slapp statute—the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA)—frequently applies to commercial litigation claims. McDonald Oilfield Operations, LLC v. 3B Inspection, LLC, No. 01-18-00118-CV, 2018 WL 6377432 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 6, 2018, no pet. h.) is another example of the use of the TCPA as a defense to a commercial litigation suit. In McDonald Oilfield Operations, plaintiff 3B Inspection brought claims a defamation, business disparagement, and tortious interference with contract after defendant McDonald Oilfield Operations, a competitor in the pipeline monitoring business, allegedly told one of 3B’s customers that 3B was “not a real company” and that McDonald Oilfield had suspended some 3B’s employees’ qualifications. (Three of 3B’s employees had worked for McDonald Oilfield as independent contractors and had received their credentials through McDonald Oilfield. McDonald Oilfield asserted claims that these employees had misappropriated trade secrets and stolen company property.)
Continue Reading Another Example of Texas’s Anti-Slapp Statute Applying to Commercial Litigation Claims