The Value Of Trial Experience In Trade Secret Litigation

Thursday April 9, 2015

A recent victory by the Louderback Law Group exemplifies the importance of trial experience.  It bears mentioning that while our trial experience was instrumental in achieving an excellent result for our clients, this matter never proceeded to trial. 

 

Background

 

Our clients were professionals in the burgeoning marketing research industry.  They had left their employer to start a competing company.  Shortly after their departure, they were sued by their previous employer for breach of contract, negligence and violation of the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“CUTSA”).  This lawsuit had the devastating potential to bankrupt our clients’ new venture and prevent them from competing in the industry. 

While the litigation of this matter had been initiated over a year prior to our involvement, our firm was contacted by our clients less than two weeks before the trial date.  We were retained because our clients wanted the confidence that a seasoned trial team provides when facing the uncertainties and complexities of an impending jury trial. 

 

Trial Preparation

 

Immediately after being retained, our firm began the onerous task of familiarizing ourselves with this complex matter on an accelerated timetable.  With the trial set to begin in a matter of days, our trial team burned the midnight oil to quickly gain command and understanding of the multitude of critical documents, discovery responses and deposition transcripts. 

Through our trial experience, our firm has developed an in depth understanding of the nuances of California civil procedure and motion practice.  We routinely rely on this expertise to further our clients’ interests.  Here, we successfully motioned the court to continue the impending trial date and to re-open discovery. 

The re-opening of discovery changed the entire momentum of the litigation.  With leave to conduct discovery, we developed a robust defense strategy that centered on challenging the protectability of the purported trade secrets.  We also deposed numerous customers of our clients who had ceased their business relationship with the plaintiff in favor of working with our clients’ new company.  We elicited testimony to establish that these customers’ decision to follow our clients stemmed from their positive working relationship with our clients and our clients’ expertise.   

Our opponent began to recognize that the tides of the litigation were turning as we pursued important avenues of discovery that had been previously overlooked.  It became readily apparent to our opponent that we were methodically developing a strong defense.  Accordingly, our opponent’s confidence in their trial presentation quickly dissipated.

 

An Excellent Settlement

On the eve of the date set for trial, we engaged opposing counsel in settlement negotiations.  Their previous settlement demands had included an enormous sum of money.  Additionally, they had demanded royalties and a prohibition of our clients’ ability to work with any of the plaintiff’s customers.   These unacceptable settlement terms would have effectively resulted in bankruptcy for our clients. 

With our trial experience as leverage, we were able to negotiate an outstanding settlement for our clients.  While the terms of the settlement are confidential, we are pleased to report that our clients were ecstatic when we were able to obtain their dismissal in exchange for a nuisance value settlement.

As demonstrated in this case, trial experience is a powerful tool both inside and outside of the courtroom.  Attorneys are keenly aware of their opponents’ trial experience and the Louderback Law Group’s thirty years of trial experience speaks for itself.  We consistently use our trial experience as leverage to get highly favorable settlements for our clients.