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McCaskill v. National Circuit Assembly

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas

June 28, 2018


          On Appeal from the 191st Judicial District Court Dallas County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. DC-17-09804

          Before Justices Bridges, Brown, and Schenck



         In this interlocutory appeal, appellants Crystal McCaskill and Suntronic Dallas, LLC appeal the trial court's order granting a temporary injunction. Appellants contend the trial court's order lacks the specificity required by rule of civil procedure 683. We agree in part and reverse the injunction in part.

         In August 2017, National Circuit Assembly d/b/a NCA sued appellants. According to its pleadings, NCA "manufactures and assembles electronic products, parts, and components for a variety of industries." McCaskill worked for NCA as a Program Manager from 2012 to July 2017. In that capacity, McCaskill was the primary contact for assigned customers and had access to confidential information, including pricing data and customer lists. NCA alleged that its business is "highly competitive and extremely price-sensitive." It further alleged that McCaskill is bound by a Nondisclosure Agreement. The Nondisclosure Agreement McCaskill signed provided:

1. Confidential Information. Employee acknowledges and agrees that in connection with his or her employment with [NCA], Employee may have access to or possession of the Company's proprietary and/or confidential information (the "Confidential Information"), which includes, but is not limited to:
a. Executive summaries, business plan(s), market research, financial statements, reports, and other materials or records of a proprietary nature;
b. Any and all information, documents, photographs, work product, and drawings pertaining to strategic or tactical considerations, including, without limitation, any and all plans, memoranda, presentations, code, formulas, diagrams, charts, or other documents which discuss the general or specific corporate strategy of the Company or any of its officer or directors, and any drawings or work product associated with the Company;
c. Information and materials relating to developing, purchasing, pricing, marketing and accounting, including, but not limited to, marketing plans, sales data, unpublished promotional materials, cost and pricing information, customer lists, customer names and customer contact information;
d. Any and all information concerning current, future or proposed products and services, including, without limitation, computer or mobile application code, drawings, specifications, designs, notebook entries, technical notes and graphs, computer print-outs, technical memoranda and correspondence, product development agreements, and related agreements;
e. Information of the type described, but not specifically set forth, above which are treated as confidential information by the Company, whether or not owned or developed by them.

         The agreement required McCaskill to maintain all confidential information in the strictest confidence. It also contained a covenant not to compete, by which McCaskill agreed, for a period of two years following the termination of her employment at NCA, not to provide products or services of the type provided by NCA to "any Person . . . which is then engaged within the Territory in a business similar to [NCA's] "Business" and not to solicit NCA's customers.

         NCA alleged McCaskill violated the agreement by immediately going to work for NCA's direct competitor Suntronic, by using NCA's confidential information, and by soliciting NCA's customers and clients. NCA asserted claims for breach of contract against McCaskill, tortious interference with a contract against Suntronic, and unfair competition and misappropriation of trade secrets and civil conspiracy against both appellants. NCA's petition included applications for temporary and permanent injunctions, by which NCA sought to stop McCaskill's alleged violations of the agreement. In addition, NCA asked that McCaskill be prohibited from working for Suntronic in any capacity.

         NCA's request for a temporary injunction was first heard before an associate judge at an evidentiary hearing that took place over two days. The associate judge heard testimony from several witnesses, including McCaskill, and numerous exhibits were admitted into evidence. The associate judge issued an order granting NCA's application for ...

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