United States District Court, S.D. Texas
MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMENDATION
BRAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Clean Energy sued Defendants Trillium Transportation Fuels
LLC and Tri Hum USA Company LLC under the Defend Trade
Secrets Act (DTSA), 18 U.S.C. § 1836, and the Computer
Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. § 1030. Defendants
filed a motion to dismiss and, in the alternative, for a more
definite statement. (D.E. 18.) Clean Energy filed a response.
(D.E. 25.) This motion was referred to the undersigned
magistrate judge under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). The
court recommends that the motion be denied.
Energy alleges that its two former employees, Charles Love
and Ryan Forrest, obtained Clean Energy's trade secrets
and left the company to join Trillium, a direct competitor.
(Compl. ¶¶ 13, 19, 23-25, 28-36.) Love allegedly
plotted with Trillium's President, Bill Cashmarek, to
take business from Clean Energy. (Compl. ¶¶ 3,
Complaint alleges that Love, along with Cashmarek, approached
Forrest and offered him to join Trillium as a senior business
development manager. (Compl. ¶¶ 32-36.) According
to Clean Energy, Love called Forrest multiple times and
Forrest met with Trillium's "executive team"
around the time Forrest started to email himself confidential
data from Clean Energy's computers-"a practice he
had rarely, if ever, done before." (Compl. ¶¶
3, 32-34, 37.) Allegedly, "just one day before"
Forrest resigned to accept the position at Trillium, he
downloaded hundreds of confidential electronic documents from
Clean Energy's computer and database into to his personal
USB. (Compl. ¶¶ 4, 39-40.) The documents included
Clean Energy's "customer relationship management
database" and "opportunity pipeline of current and
ongoing deals." (Compl. ¶ 35.)
Complaint further alleges that Love, Forrest, and Trillium
used the trade secrets to compete with Clean Energy. (Compl.
¶¶ 27, 49-54.)
Standard of Review
plaintiffs complaint must contain a "short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 12(b)(6)
authorizes the court to dismiss a complaint for "failure
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
to dismiss, "[t]he court accepts all well-pleaded facts
as true, viewing them in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff," and "drawing all reasonable inferences
in that party's favor." In re Katrina Canal
Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191, 205-06 (5th Cir. 2007).
survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must plead
"enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice."
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "A
claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged." Id. "The plausibility standard
is not akin to a 'probability requirement,' but it
asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully." Id.
complaint only needs to give the defendant fair notice of the
claim and the grounds it relies on. Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555. A 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss "is viewed
with disfavor and is rarely granted." Beanal v.
Freeport-McMoran, Inc., 197 F.3d 161, 164 (5th Cir.
1999) (internal quotation marks omitted). The pleading rules
"do not countenance dismissal of a complaint for
imperfect statement of the legal theory supporting the claim
asserted." Johnson v. City of Shelby, Miss.,
135 S.Ct. 346, 346 (2014); see also Skinner v.
Switzer, 562 U.S. 521, 530 (2011) ("[A] complaint
need not pin plaintiffs claim for relief to a precise legal
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) claim
CFAA provides a private cause of action in 18 U.S.C. §
1030(g). A civil plaintiff can state a cause of action under
the CFAA for a violation of any subsection of § 1030
that results in damages involving one of the factors listed
in § i03o(a)(s)(B)(i)-(v). Fiber Sys. Intern., Inc.
v. Roehrs, 470 F.3d 1150, 1157 (5th Cir. 2006). For
example, Plaintiff can state a CFAA claim by alleging that
Defendants (1) "intentionally accesse[d] a protected
computer without authorization or [by] exceed[ing] authorized
access," and (2) obtained "information from any
protected computer." See 18 U.S.C. §
1030(a)(2); Roehrs, 470 F.3d at 1157.
argues that Clean Energy's complaint lacks the allegation
that Forrest exceeded his authority when he accessed Clean
Energy's computers because: he ...