CDF secured a major victory for client Lessin Media Company, dba The Information (“The Information”), in a dispute with rival news media organization TheWrap News, Inc. (TheWrap).
TheWrap sued The Information, alleging the outlet poached a former writer, misappropriated proprietary information and interfered with business opportunities. The lawsuit sought unspecified damages for claims of unfair business practices, intentional interference with contract, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage and misappropriation of trade secrets. A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge granted The Information’s motion for summary judgment, dismissing all claims against our client. The Judge found TheWrap’s employment agreement with its former employee violated California Business & Professions Code section 16600 and California public policy, thus effectively invalidating it as a basis for TheWrap’s claims.
In addition, the Court ruled TheWrap failed to show The Information had intent to interfere with the employment contract at issue, or to disrupt the relationship between TheWrap and its former employee. The Court sided with The Information in its agreement the employee had voluntarily resigned from TheWrap and contacted The Information alone, seeking a writer position. In a stinging rebuke to TheWrap’s employment practices, Judge Young wrote, “TheWrap does not have the right to the exclusive use of an employee, which would be tantamount to indentured servitude.”
TheWrap conceded at the summary judgment hearing that it had no facts to support its cause of action for misappropriation of trade secrets. Due to this loss, TheWrap will owe The Information for costs related to defending itself against the lawsuit.
Los Angeles Superior Court