12/12/2023 Firm Obtains Federal Court Stay of Trade Secrets Claim

On December 12, 2023, in a matter of first impression, the Firm obtained a federal court order staying discovery on a trade secrets misappropriation claim. According to state courts’ interpretation of Florida’s Uniform Trade Secret Act (FUTSA), a trade secret plaintiff must identify with “reasonable particularity” the trade secrets allegedly misappropriated before it can pursue discovery concerning the trade secrets at issue. The Firm argued that the disclosure requirement is self-executing and that it applies to FUTSA claims asserted in federal court. Plaintiffs argued that the disclosure rule does not apply in federal court and that if it does, the disclosure requirement is not self-executing—that instead the defendant must first serve formal discovery requesting identification of the trade secrets at issue.

Despite the district court’s initial skepticism, following two rounds of briefing and oral argument, the district court sided with the Firm and issued a protective order staying trade secret discovery until the plaintiffs identified with particularity each purported trade secret claimed to have been misappropriated.

Neither the Eleventh Circuit nor Florida’s state courts had previously decided whether the disclosure requirement applies to a FUTSA claim alleged in federal court. If you have any questions regarding our intellectual property or litigation practices you can contact Kyle Foltyn-Smith or Jerry Hawxhurst to discuss.