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Global Technical Search, Inc. v. Jacobsen.

March 21, 2008

GLOBAL TECHNICAL SEARCH, INC. D.B.A. GLOBAL SEARCH, A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LELAND JACOBSEN, AN INDIVIDUAL, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Roger T. Benitez United States District Judge

ORDER: (1) GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S APPLICATION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER; AND (2) SETTING HEARING DATE ON PERMANENT INJUNCTION PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR [Doc. # 3]

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Global Technical Search, Inc., d.b.a. Global Search ("Plaintiff" or "Global"), alleges that Defendant Leland Jacobsen ("Defendant" or "Jacobsen"), Global's former employee, misappropriated certain confidential and proprietary information from Global's computer. Plaintiff filed an application for a temporary restraining order ("TRO") and a date for a motion for a preliminary injunction.

On March 21, 2008, this Court conducted a hearing. Timothy S. Noon, Esq., appeared for Plaintiff. Defendant appeared pro se. For the reasons below, the application for a TRO is granted. The Court also sets a hearing date for a motion for a permanent injunction for April 3, 2008, at 4 p.m.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Events Leading up to Application for TRO

Global is a recruiting firm that specializes in recruiting and placing personnel and executives for environmental, engineering and corporate employers nationwide. Global has invested substantial time and funds in developing a database for its business. (Declaration of Michael Burnett in Sup. of Pl.'s App. for Temp. Restr. Order ("Burnett Decl.") ¶ 3). The data collected and maintained by Global includes the identities of employer clients and their personnel needs, identities of candidates, fee agreements, pricing, and other sensitive and confidential information. (Burnett Decl. ¶ 4).

Jacobsen was employed by Global from May 8, 2006 to January 2, 2008, as an Independent National Associate. (Burnett Decl. ¶ 11). When Jacobsen was hired, he entered into a written employment agreement with Global regarding the use of any information pertaining to Plaintiff's placement business. (Burnett Decl. ¶ 12, Ex. 1). In the course of his duties, Jacobsen routinely accessed Global's computers and the database.

In November and December 2007, Jacobsen informed another employee, Linda Rutherford, that he was planning to start his own recruitment search firm. (Declaration of Linda Rutherford in Sup. of Pl.'s App. for Temp. Restr. Order ("Rutherford Decl.") ¶ 3). In late December 2007, Jacobsen informed Rutherford that he had a phone line installed at his home, was going to download Global's database, and was not returning to work at Global. (Rutherford Decl. ¶ 4). On January 2, 2008, Jacobsen came to work early and stayed beyond his normal work hours. (Burnett Decl. ¶ 15; Rutherford Decl. ¶ 7). Jacobsen did not return to work after January 2, 2008. On January 3, 2008, Rutherford informed her supervisor about Jacobsen's stated plans to download Global's database and start his own recruitment firm. (Rutherford Decl. ¶ 8).

Also on January 3, 2008, Rutherford's supervisor arranged for a examination of Jacobsen's office computer by a forensic computer consultant. (Declaration of Mark McKinley in Sup. of Pl.'s App. for Temp. Restr. Order ("McKinley Decl.") ¶ 4). The consultant determined that there were two insertions of a USB memory stick in the computer in the late afternoon on January 2, 2008. (McKinley Decl. ¶ 4). In the wastebasket by Jacobsen's desk there was packaging for a four gigabyte memory stick.

Jacobsen has recently contacted several of Global's employer clients and offered his services in personnel recruitment and placement. (Rutherford Decl. ¶ 22).

Global has never given Jacobsen its consent or authorization to download any part of the database for his own use. Global filed this action on March 6, 2008, alleging violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, California Penal Code § 502(c)(2), unfair business practices, breach of contract, and conversion. The Complaint seeks damages and injunctive relief.

The present TRO application seeks an order enjoining Jacobsen from using any confidential or proprietary information obtained from Global, directing Jacobsen to turn over to Global or a third party all of the electronic storage media in his possession, and directing Jacobsen to provide an ...


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