Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

SolarCity Corp. v. Sunpower Corp.

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

May 4, 2017

SOLARCITY CORPORATION, Plaintiff,
v.
SUNPOWER CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING PARTIAL MOTION TO DISMISS WITH PREJUDICE RE: DKT. NO. 51

          LUCY H. KOH United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is Defendant Sunpower Corporation's (“Sunpower”) Partial Motion to Dismiss SolarCity's Claim for Declaratory Relief and Claims Based on the “Demand Logic Guarantee” (“motion”). ECF No. 51. The Court finds that the motion is suitable for resolution without oral argument and therefore VACATES the hearing scheduled for May 11, 2017. Having considered the briefing of the parties, the record in the case, and the relevant law, the Court hereby GRANTS Sunpower's motion with prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         The instant case involves a trade secrets dispute between SolarCity Corporation (“Solarcity”) and Defendants Sunpower and Anne Shuldes-Torricelli (“Shuldes-Torricelli”). ECF No. 1. Solarcity and Sunpower are competing providers of home solar energy. Id. ¶¶ 1-3. SolarCity maintains non-public databases of customer information called “Salesforce Records.” Id. ¶ 16. SolarCity claims that the Salesforce Records are valuable and confidential and “provide SolarCity with a significant competitive advantage over SolarCity's competitors in a number of ways, including by enabling SolarCity to build and leverage its goodwill in the community and lower SolarCity's cost of customer acquisition.” Id. ¶ 17. SolarCity claims that it requires all employees to sign confidentiality agreements regarding the Salesforce Records. Id. ¶ 18.

         Shuldes-Torricelli was an employee of SolarCity with the title of Project Development Manager from February 23, 2015 to July 1, 2016. Id. ¶ 19. As part of her employment, Shuldes-Torricelli signed a confidentiality agreement in which she promised not to reveal SolarCity's confidential information. Id. ¶¶ 20-26. In 2016, SolarCity placed Shuldes-Torricelli on a three-month performance improvement plan and ultimately terminated Shuldes-Torricelli's employment on July 1, 2016. Id. ¶¶ 32-34.

         Shuldes-Torricelli applied for a position at Sunpower on June 6, 2016. Id. ¶ 32. In August 2016, Sunpower hired Shuldes-Torricelli as a Strategic Business Development Manager, Smart Energy. Id. ¶ 35.

         SolarCity alleges that before leaving SolarCity, Shuldes-Torricelli “repeatedly accessed SolarCity's Salesforce customer database, downloaded hundreds of commercial customer records comprising SolarCity's confidential information and trade secrets, and saved SolarCity's confidential information and trade secrets onto a personal external hard drive, which she retained after termination of her employment.” Id. ¶ 36. SolarCity has hired forensic investigators and devoted other resources to investigating and responding to Shuldes-Torricelli's conduct. Id. ¶ 43.

         On September 23, 2016, SolarCity sent a letter to Shuldes-Torricelli stating that Shuldes-Torricelli was acting in violation of the confidentiality agreement that she had signed as part of her employment at SolarCity. Id. ¶ 47. In the letter, SolarCity requested Shuldes-Torricelli to either give assurances that she had not kept possession of SolarCity's confidential information or to immediately cease using SolarCity's confidential information and to identify what confidential information Shuldes-Torricelli had retained and to whom Shuldes-Torricelli had disclosed that information. Id. ¶ 49. Shuldes-Torricelli responded to the letter on September 27, 2016, but did not provide assurances to SolarCity's satisfaction. Id. ¶ 50.

         Also on September 23, 2016, SolarCity sent a letter to Sunpower's general counsel asking Sunpower to describe the steps it took to ensure that Shuldes-Torricelli did not retain or use confidential SolarCity data, that Shuldes-Torricelli returned all confidential information to SolarCity, and that Sunpower did not use any of the confidential data. Id. ¶ 55. Sunpower responded to the letter on September 26, 2016, but did not provide assurances to SolarCity's satisfaction. Id. ¶¶ 57-58. Based on these allegedly inadequate responses, SolarCity alleges that “Shuldes is knowingly and improperly using SolarCity's stolen trade secrets without authorization, and that SunPower knows and approves of this conduct.” Id. ¶ 58.

         SolarCity also claims that soon after Shuldes-Torricelli left SolarCity and began working at Sunpower, Sunpower began to use contractual language known as the “Demand Logic Guarantee” in Sunpower's contracts. Id. ¶ 59. SolarCity alleges that use of the “Demand Logic Guarantee” is part of Sunpower's “unfair approach to competing with SolarCity.” Id. ¶ 61.

         B. Procedural History

         SolarCity filed the complaint in the instant action on September 27, 2016. ECF No. 1. In the complaint, SolarCity asserts eight causes of action: violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1836, against both Defendants; declaratory relief regarding SolarCity's rights to its trade secrets and other proprietary information against both Defendants; conversion against both Defendants; trespass to chattels against both Defendants; unjust enrichment/restitution against Sunpower; violation of the Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200, et seq., against both Defendants; breach of contract against Shuldes-Torricelli; and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing against Shuldes-Torricelli. Id. ¶¶ 62-116.

         On March 20, 2017, Shuldes-Torricelli answered the complaint. ECF No. 49. Also on March 20, 2017, Sunpower filed the instant partial motion to dismiss, ECF No. 52, and a request for judicial notice in support of the motion, ECF No. 53. Also on March 20, 2017, Sunpower filed an answer to the complaint on the causes of action that Sunpower had not moved to dismiss. ECF No. 54. On April 14, 2017, SolarCity filed ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.