The Texas legislature recently enacted an amendment to the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act, which becomes effective on September 1, 2017. The substantive changes to the statute fall into three categories.
The Dallas Morning News issued an interesting article last weekend. The article discusses how the Texas Supreme Court has demonstrated an interest in reviewing the extent to which lawyers representing plaintiffs should be permitted to share trade secret information obtained from a defendant in lawsuit discovery with lawyers representing other plaintiffs who may have claims against the same defendant. The article notes that the Texas Supreme Court decided to review three separate appeals involving this issue over the last decade, but all three cases settled before the court could issue a decision.
You can view the article here.
Another saga fit for a television series plot line is playing out in a Texas courthouse. Private investment firm TPG Global, LLC (“TPG”) is based in Fort Worth, Texas. Until the last day of 2014, Adam Levine (“Levine”) was an employee of TPG. Levine was previously a White House deputy press secretary during George W. Bush’s presidency. TPG filed a lawsuit in late January 2015 claiming that Levine attempted to extort millions of dollars from TPG after Levine learned that TPG would not make Levine a partner in the firm.
Law 360 reported today that, half-way through a five week trial, Mocrief Oil International, Inc. dropped its $1.36 billion theft of trade secrets lawsuit against Russia’s OAO Gazprom. The report states that Gazprom’s lawyers cross-examined Moncrief’s Chief Financial Officer last week and established that a key document upon which Moncrief based its case was fabricated. Moncrief’s CFO had testified that the document was created in 2004 and supported Moncrief’s claim that it disclosed trade secret information to Gazprom. Gazprom ‘s lawyer asserted during cross-examination that the document contained information that did not exist in 2004 because it was taken from a 2012 research paper.
This is the second Texas theft of trade secrets case in less than a year involving allegations of fake evidence. In May 2014, the lawyers representing the plaintiff who had obtained a $25 million verdict in a theft of trade secrets lawsuit withdrew from the case and stated that their client had relied upon false evidence and testimony. The plaintiff allegedly created a fake contract and forged emails to support its claims. You can view the defendants’ motion for sanctions in that case here.
Earlier this week, Charlotte Rutherford (“Rutherford”) filed her responsive brief in the appeal filed by her former employer Schlumberger. The case is considered to be high profile in the legal community because Rutherford succeeded in having the majority of Schlumberger’s claims against her dismissed based on her reliance upon the Texas Citizens’ Participation Act (“TCPA”).