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Title Hunter Consulting, Inc. v. Frank Beas Et. Al.

December 10, 2012

TITLE HUNTER CONSULTING, INC.
v.
FRANK BEAS ET. AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable Andrew J. Guilford

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

Present: The Honorable ANDREW J. GUILFORD

Lisa Bredahl Not Present

Deputy Clerk Court Reporter / Recorder Tape No.

Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendants:

Proceedings: [IN CHAMBERS] ORDER GRANTING PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

This case is about misappropriation of trade secrets. In November, 2012, Plaintiff Hunter Consulting, Inc. ("Plaintiff") sued Defendants Frank Beas; Ben Maese; Tiffany Van Horn; 13 Tons, LLC; and Earth Conscious, LLC (collectively, the "Beas Defendants"); and Defendants Les Livingston and Phoenix Environmental, Inc. (collectively, the "Livingston Defendants) for, among other things, misappropriating its trade secrets and violating the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. (Complaint, Dkt. No. 1, at 1.)

Plaintiff filed an Ex Parte Application for a Temporary Restraining Order ("TRO Application") and an Order to Show Cause ("OSC") why a preliminary injunction should not issue. (Dkt. No. 4.) The Court denied the TRO Application and granted the OSC. The Court now considers Plaintiff's request for a preliminary injunction.

The Court finds that Defendants have failed to show cause why a preliminary injunction should not issue and GRANTS a preliminary injunction.

LEGAL STANDARD

Preliminary injunctions are provisional remedies issued before final disposition of a litigation. They generally serve to maintain the status quo and prevent irreparable loss of rights before judgment. See Sierra On-Line, Inc. v. Phoenix Software, Inc., 739 F.2d 1415, 1422 (9th Cir. 1984). A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction "must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest." Winter v. NRDC, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008); see also Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Cottrell, 632 F.3d 1127, 1135 (9th Cir. 2011) (applying the Winter four-element test).

BACKGROUND AND FINDINGS OF FACT

After reviewing the evidence, the Court makes the following findings of fact, including any findings of fact in the Analysis and Conclusions of Law.

1. The Plaintiff

Plaintiff is an environmental management company that provides, among other things, hazardous and non-hazardous waste transport. (Parker Decl., Dkt. No. 4-2, ¶ 3.) Plaintiff has been in business since April 2000. (Id. ¶ 5.) There are approximately 80,000 companies generating hazardous waste in California and only 15 to 20 companies that can provide services to deal with this hazardous waste. (Id. ¶ 6.) Plaintiff uses proprietary software that took over a year to develop and is the result of thousands of man-hours of data compilation. (Id. ¶ 7.) Plaintiff uses its software to quickly tailor bids according to its client's needs. (Id. ¶ 8.)

2. The Beas Defendants

Defendant Frank Beas ("Beas") was the Director of Sales for Plaintiff from April 2010 until October 5, 2012, when Beas was terminated. (Id. ¶ 12.) Plaintiff and Beas entered a nondisclosure agreement when Beas began working for Plaintiff (Id. ¶¶ 12-13; TRO Application, Exhibit A, Dkt. No. 4-5, at 3.)

Defendant 13 Tons is a vendor and cartage company. (Id. ¶ 14) Defendants Ben Maese and Tiffany Van Horn are principals of 13 Tons. (Id. ¶ 14)

Plaintiff claims that while Beas was still employed by Plaintiff, he entered an agreement with Maese and Van Horn to form a venture to compete with Plaintiff using Plaintiff's proprietary information. (Plaintiff's Pts. and Auth. in Support of TRO at 6.) To support this claim Plaintiffs assert that Beas sent numerous emails containing customer contact information and bid specifications to Van Horn ...


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