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June 2022

Gordon & Rees Obtains Complete Defense Jury Verdict in Trade Secrets Dispute

A Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani trial team led by William Coggshall, George Soares and Darin Webb obtained a complete defense verdict on behalf of five insurance agents and one corporate agency client following a three-week jury trial in California Superior Court, County of San Bernardino. The plaintiff, an insurance agency, had sued its former agents claiming that they had breached their employment contracts and had misappropriated trade secrets and sought damages under the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act ("CUTSA").  At the commencement of trial, plaintiff sought in excess of $8 million in damages.

The firm clients were former employees of plaintiff who departed plaintiff's employ to join another insurance agency. The plaintiff claimed that they downloaded confidential, trade secret documents owned by it and then used that information to solicit agency accounts.  

At the conclusion of plaintiff's case, the court granted the defense motion for non-suit on plaintiff's contract damage theories (the defense utilizing Business & Professions Code Section 16600) leaving the CUTSA claims to go to jury verdict.  The plaintiff argued that not only did defendants misappropriate trade secrets, but that they acted maliciously in so doing.  Following closing arguments, the jury returned with a defense verdict finding that the firm clients did not misappropriate any trade secrets.

Trial was completed almost four years from the original filing and was described as contentious. The Gordon & Rees team will seek, on behalf of its clients, a recovery of statutory costs (including expert fees) and prevailing party attorneys fees pursuant to contract.


William L. Coggshall
George P. Soares
Darin R. Webb