Temporary Injunction Standard In Trade Secrets Cases (Part III)

We are blogging on “Non-competes, Trade Secrets, Fiduciary Duties, and the Inevitable Disclosure Doctrine.” Mark Oberti has prepared a detailed paper on all of these issues, which can be found here.

In the past two posts, we blogged about trade secrets cases where courts of appeals found that district courts had not erred in granting temporary injunctions. In the following cases, courts of appeals found that the district courts had properly refused to enter temporary injunctions based on alleged trade secret misappropriation:

Dallas Anesthesiology Associates, P.A. v. Texas Anesthesia Group, P.A., 190 S.W.3d 891 (Tex. App.–Dallas 2006, no pet.) (denial of plaintiff anesthesiology professional association’s application for temporary injunction was not an abuse of discretion, where there was conflicting evidence as to whether defendants had breached their fiduciary duties, misappropriated confidential information, or tortiously interfered with business relationships; in light of such conflicting evidence, plaintiff failed to prove a probable right to the relief sought).

TMC Worldwide, L.P. v. Gray, 178 S.W.3d 29 (Tex. App.–Houston [1st Dist.] 2005, no pet.) (district court properly denied application for temporary injunction because the evidence was sufficient to support finding that former employer did not show a probability of success in proving that its customer list was entitled to trade secret protection so as to grant temporary injunction in trade secret action against former employee; there was no evidence that former employee used the list to obtain 16 customers which were on that list, but rather former employee testified that the 16 customers were obtained through other sources or they sought to continue business with former employee due to his prior relationship with them).

Sands v. Estate of Buys, 160 S.W.3d 684 (Tex. App.–Fort Worth 2005, no pet.) (district court properly denied application for temporary injunction because estate of deceased owner of accounting corporation did not establish a probability of success in proving that clients’ identities deserved trade secret protection, so as to entitle estate to temporary injunction to prohibit former accountant from contacting clients; clients’ identities were known by many people outside the corporation, including other former accountants and the clients themselves, corporation made little effort to guard identities or compile a client list, and information regarding the identities could be acquired by others fairly easily).

EMSL Analytical, Inc. v. Younker, 154 S.W.3d 693 (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 2004, no pet.) (district court properly denied application for temporary injunction where there was no evidence former employee was currently violating nondisclosure clause or that there was any likelihood that she would in the future, so as to show a probable, imminent, and irreparable injury necessary to support a temporary injunction; even though she was working for former employer’s customer, evidence only established a theoretical possibility that former employee could take customer away from former employer or that she could divulge confidential information).

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