On July 30th, a Tampa federal court denied motions to dismiss a $25 million theft of trade secrets case filed by the Firm on behalf of a small printing company against Tervis Tumblers. Tervis is nationally known for manufacturing insulated double-walled cups known as tumblers. For several years, Trinity Graphic, a family-owned printing company based in Sarasota, Florida, printed graphic inserts for Tervis. The case alleges that Tervis conspired with another printing company, Southern Graphics, to steal Trinity’s printing-related trade secrets.
After the plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint in April, Tervis and Southern immediately moved for dismissal. Tervis argued that the plaintiff failed to allege a claim for theft of trade secrets, could not establish a breach of contract and had not alleged fraud with sufficient particularity. Southern made similar arguments, in addition to contending that it could not be held liable for aiding and abetting fraud.
In a sweeping victory for Trinity and Pollard PLLC, the Court rejected all of the Defendants’ arguments and denied their respective motions to dismiss in their entirety. In relevant part, the Court held the following:
- Trinity sufficiently stated a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”). Per the Court, “The question of whether information constitutes a trade secret is a question of fact normally resolved by a jury after full presentation of evidence. . . The Amended Complaint contains detailed allegations that Tervis misappropriated Plaintiff’s trade secrets by acquiring them through improper means and disclosing them to third parties.”
- A claim for misappropriation can exist “not only where the defendant itself is alleged to have stolen trade secrets, but also where the defendant is alleged to have obtained the trade secrets while knowing that they were acquired by improper means.”
- Trinity’s fraud claims contained detailed allegations that satisfied Rule 9(b)’s heightened pleading standard.
- Trinity sufficiently alleged an aiding and abetting fraud claim against Defendant Southern Graphics.
The Court repeatedly held that the issues raised by Defendants in their motions to dismiss were better suited for resolution at summary judgment or even at trial.
The Firm’s founder Jonathan Pollard hailed the ruling as a major victory, and an indication of the importance of the DTSA. Pollard made the following statement: “This case is a great example of the importance of having a federal trade secret law. Without the DTSA, we wouldn’t be in Tampa federal court. We appreciate the judge’s careful, thoughtful ruling. We look forward to continuing the fight through summary judgment and trial.”
Although based in Fort Lauderdale, Pollard and his colleagues frequently find themselves litigating complex non-compete and trade secret disputes in Tampa federal court. According to Pollard, the Firm has plans to launch a Tampa office in the near future. “I like Tampa. It’s just a matter of time.”
The case is Trinity Graphic v. Tervis Tumbler Company et. al., 18-CV-00230 (MDFL 2017).
About the Firm
Pollard PLLC is a law firm focused on competition law. The Firm and its attorneys have extensive experience litigating complex non-compete, trade secret, trademark, and unfair competition cases throughout Florida and beyond. The Firm’s founder Jonathan Pollard has appeared on or in the New York Times, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, PBS News Hour, Digital Guardian, Fund Fire, Inc. Magazine and more. For more information, please call 954-332-2380.