Bloomberg BNA Electronic Commerce & Law Report: When Employees Leave with Electronic Files: The CFAA’s Eclectic Damage and Loss Case Law Illustrated

05/21/2014


By now the following fact pattern is almost choreographed: an employee downloads a generous helping of information from his or her employer’s confidential electronic data stores, then quits and uses the pinched information to either start or join a competing business. The employer sues the former employee for trade secret theft and breach of contract, among other common law claims, and for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. § 1030. A well-known threshold question is whether the employee’s conduct constitutes ‘‘unauthorized access’’ under the CFAA. This issue is unsettled and depends on whether the forum Circuit Court construes ‘‘authorized access’’ broadly or narrowly. But equally significant is whether the employer has the requisite damage and loss for a CFAA claim. The answer to that question depends on the forum district court and the facts of the case (few Circuit decisions directly address the issue).

Excerpted from Bloomberg BNA Electronic Commerce & Law Report, May 21, 2014. To view full article, click the PDF below.

When Employees Leave with Electronic Files: The CFAA’s Eclectic Damage and Loss Case Law Illustrated

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