Monday, April 23, 2007, 4/23/2007 01:20:00 PM

Georgia Appeals Court Finds Customer Lists to be Trade Secrets (Registration Req’d)

From the Georgia Court of Appeals, a decision in Hilb, Rogal and Hamilton Co. of Atlanta, Inc. v. Holley, 2007 WL 914240 (Ga. App. Mar. 28, 2007), in which the court upheld denial of a motion for summary judgment with respect to plaintiff’s trade secrets claim against its former employee.

The defendant, Holley, left the plaintiff, an insurance company, for a competitor. On the way out, Holley took an electronic organizer which had been given to him for Christmas which contained his clients’ contact information.

After his resignation, Holley mailed an announcement of his new employment affiliation to former customers using publicly available lists. Approximately 20 to 25% of the clients that Holley serviced while working for the defendant ultimately followed him to his new employer. The record also showed that he also used the electronic organizer to retrieve phone numbers.

The trial court denied summary judgment and the Court of Appeals agreed:

The record shows that Holley signed a confidentiality agreement in which he promised to keep customer lists confidential, that he took the electronic organizer containing contact information for actual customers with him when he resigned from [defendant], and that he used the organizer to look up phone numbers after his resignation. Tangible customer lists are the property of the employer and may warrant protection as trade secrets. The evidence is sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Holley misappropriated trade secrets.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

back to top