In a lawsuit alleging employee poaching brought by media industry competitor, TheWrap News, Inc., the Court finds TheWrap’s employment agreement illegal, grants complete summary judgment for The Information.
IRVINE, Calif. – December 13, 2019 – California labor and employment law firm Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP (CDF) has 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. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark A. Young granted The Information’s motion for summary judgment, dismissing all claims against The Information (Case No. SC129953 - TheWrap News, Inc. v. Lessin Media Company). Judge Young 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.
“We were glad to be able to help vindicate The Information in this matter,” said Wulffson. “The company refused to be bullied by a lawsuit that clearly never should have been brought, and never wavered from its commitment to prove it had done nothing wrong.”
For additional information, or to speak with the CDF attorneys, call (949) 622-1661.
About Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP
For 25 years, Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP has distinguished itself as one of the top labor, employment and immigration law firms in California, representing employers in single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits and advising employers on related legal compliance and risk avoidance. The firm has five offices throughout California – in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. For more information, visit: www.CDFLaborLaw.com and find CDF on LinkedIn or Twitter to learn more about how the firm protects California employers. For access to timely alerts on the latest California labor and employment law developments, sign-up for the firm’s blog by visiting: www.CalLaborLaw.com.
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