Too Much of a Good Thing

The Daily Record, February 2008

3 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2010

See all articles by James B. Astrachan

James B. Astrachan

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Date Written: February 1, 2008


In a recent case, the likes of which we see too often, a modular home builder sued its competitor and four former employees for copyright infringement and misappropriation of its confidential information and trade secrets. The federal appellate decision emphasizes the universally recognized truth that a litigant must carefully tailor its request least a court give it too much.

Contentious relationships make for contentious litigation, and these parties had both, which began when Defendant offered to buy Plaintiff. When that deal crumpled on the sidewalk like yesterday’s newspaper, Defendant, believing it could capture Plaintiff’s business with an end run, hired Plaintiff’s four key employees.

One lesson that the years have taught is that when a gaggle of former employees leaves to open a competing shop or to join a competitor, they seldom arrive empty handed. This case was not the exception and the four employees brought with them to their new employer extensive information downloaded from the Plaintiff’s computers. With Plaintiff’s former general manager at the helm of Defendant, the former employees competed in the modular home industry and used Plaintiff’s information to build and sell its products.

What follows is a description of how this litigation turned out.

Keywords: case studies, confidential information, misappropriation of trade secrets, modular home industry, business competition, business litigation, intellectual property, unfair competition, computer records, copyright infringement

JEL Classification: K29, K39, K49, L74

Suggested Citation

Astrachan, James B., Too Much of a Good Thing (February 1, 2008). The Daily Record, February 2008, Available at SSRN: or

James B. Astrachan (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

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