Monday, February 11, 2013

A.F.A. Tours v. Whitchurch case brief

A.F.A. Tours v. Whitchurch case brief summary
937 F.2d 82

SYNOPSIS: Plaintiff corporation appealed order of summary judgment issued by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in favor of defendant/former employee in misappropriation of trade secrets suit.

OVERVIEW: Plaintiff corporation sued defendant, a former employee, for misappropriate of trade secrets; plaintiff claimed defendant, after his resignation, made use for profit of client, marketing, and tour information developed by plaintiff. The federal district court granted summary judgment to defendant, finding that irrespective of the factual issues as to whether the information in question was confidential and known by defendant to be confidential, plaintiff had failed to establish amount in controversy sufficient to invoke federal diversity jurisdiction.

On appeal, the federal appellate court reversed and remanded, holding that plaintiff was not afforded a fair opportunity to support its claim that a sufficient amount in controversy existed, and that, assuming the amount in controversy was sufficient, factual disputes remained as to whether the information in question was confidential and whether defendant knew that. The case was remanded for further fact-finding as to the amount in controversy.

OUTCOME: The summary judgment order was vacated, as plaintiff was not given adequate opportunity to establish the requisite amount in controversy for diversity jurisdiction, and issues as to confidentiality remained unresolved.

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