Federal judge rejects trade secrets suit against Miami Beach

miami beachReportedly, one of the first lawsuits was dismissed by a federal judge under the US’s new trade secrets statute, ruling that the standards for filing the suit had not been met.

In the dispute Virginia-based engineering contractor MC Dean accused the City of Miami Beach of improperly passing on confidential information about staff to an electricians’ union.

During the ruling on 8 August, U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga in Miami stated that the contractor, M.C. Dean Inc, did not show that it took reasonable steps to protect confidential employee information at issue in the suit or that the information was misappropriated.

According to subcontractor of Clark Construction Group and the general contractor for the Miami Beach Convention Center renovation project, MC Dean, the information about staff salaries, hours worked and qualifications were passed on to the City of Miami Beach and the Local 349 union. As part of its contractual obligations, Mr Dean renders Clark with information about its employees but did not provide the information to the City of Miami Beach.

This year, in March, Local 349 demanded copies of some of MC Dean’s payrolls from the city, wherein MC Dean objected to the disclosure and stated that records constituted trade secrets and could not be revealed.

On 8 August, when the ruling was passed, Judge Cecilia Altonaga, stated that MC Dean did not mention reasonable steps taken to protect the information at issue and 1 provisions of Clark’s contract with the city of Miami Beach, which were also included in MC Dean’s subcontract, required Clark to provide information to the city without restrictions.

However, the DTSA gives victims of trade secrets theft the power to sue in a federal court, passing trade secrets laws into line with other forms of intellectual property. Also, under “extraordinary circumstances”, a judge may order the seizure of another party’s property in order to “prevent the propagation or dissemination of the trade secret that is the subject of the action”.


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