United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL United States District Judge
case. Plaintiff The Center For Advancing Innovation, Inc.
("CAI") initiated this litigation against
Defendants Samuel Bahreini, Alejandra Diaz (aka Alejandra
Bahreini). Jenna Baker (a former CAI employee who allegedly
does business as "Konstellate"). John Doe Companies
1-10 and Robin Roes 1-10 alleging one count of violating the
Defense of Trade Secrets Act ("DTSA") pursuant to
18 U.S.C. § 1836. ECF No. 1. On May 1. 2018. CAI filed the
now-pending Motion For Temporary Restraining Order
("TRO") and For Preliminary Injunction. ECF No. 8.
The Court held a hearing on CAI's Motion on May 4. 2018.
ECF No. 19. For the reasons discussed below. CAI's Motion
April 18. 2018. CAI filed the instant Complaint against
Defendants ECF No. 1. The Complaint was brought pursuant to
18 U.S.C. § 1836 of the DTSA. Prior to filing this
lawsuit, on February 16. 2018. CAI filed a complaint in the
Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland. Case No.
443339V. On March 12, 2018, the Bahreinis sued CAI and
Rosemarie Truman alleging unpaid wages and defamation. Case
a Maryland 501(c)(3) corporation whose founder and CEO is
Rosemarie Truman. ECF No. 1 ¶ 1. Among other projects it
oversees, CA1 coordinates, hosts and manages conference calls
and webinars which are attended by inventors, researchers,
scientists, universities, and other companies in which
products (some of which are still being developed) are
reviewed, discussed and evaluated. Id. ¶ 12.
All participants are required to sign a nondisclosure
agreement ("NDA"). CAI records and saves
non-public, confidential and proprietary information
regarding these webinars and the products discussed therein.
Id. ¶ 14. CA1 also maintains confidential
financial models and client lists, along with confidential
internal and external emails. Id. ¶¶
26-27. To store this information. CAI utilizes a number of
different software platforms. Id. ¶ 28.
Mr. and Mrs. Bahreini previously worked for CAI. Mr. Bahreini
managed CAI's software platforms, and Mrs. Bahreini
worked as Ms. Truman's executive assistant. Id.
¶¶ 29. 35. Both Mr. and Mrs. Bahreini signed NDAs
as part of their employment contracts. Id.
¶¶ 32. 36. Neither the NDAs nor the Bahreinis'
contracts contained non-compete clauses. See ECF
Nos. 1-1. 1-2. 1-3. 1-4. 1-5. Mrs. Bahreini's contract
was terminated on January 17. 2018, and Mr. Bahreini's
contract was terminated on January 21. 2018. Id.
January 17, 2018. at 8:35 AM, the day that Mrs.
Bahreini's contract was terminated, CAI alleges that Ms.
Truman removed Mr. Bahreini's access to CAIs Google Cloud
account, and advised him that his administrative rights to
all of CAI's data were being terminated. Id.
¶ 44. Later that day, another CAI employee restored Mr.
Bahreini's access to his administrative privileges.
Id. Mr. Bahreini subsequently downloaded over a
thousand CAI files, some of which CAI alleges contained trade
secrets, and confidential and proprietary information.
Id. ¶ 45. On January 23. 2018. the day that Mr.
Bahreini's contract was terminated. Mr. Bahreini
downloaded another 790 files from CAFs account. Id.
¶ 50. On January 26. 2018, he downloaded four more
files. Id. ¶ 51. CAI alleges that Mr. Bahreini
did not stop with simply downloading CAI documents, but went
into CAI accounts and changed the ownership and access rights
of various accounts to block CAI's access to those
accounts and documents stored therein. Id.
¶¶ 54-63. Furthermore, CAI alleges that Mr.
Bahreini has since sought money from CAI in exchange for the
return of its files, and kept for himself refunds of CAI
subscriptions that he cancelled. Id. ¶ 67. CAI
also alleges that Mr. Bahreini has sent disparaging emails to
clients of CAI. Id. ¶ 66. CAI alleges that Mr.
Bahreini's actions have caused CAI to reach out to CAFs
stakeholders and re-establish key information, along with
access to their various accounts, at CAFs inconvenience and
expense. Id. ¶ 70. CAI alleges that it is
unclear whether they have uncovered the full extent of Mr.
Bahreini's misconduct, as they are still discovering
additional tampering. Id. ¶ 72.
also alleges that Mrs. Bahreini conspired with Mr. Bahreini
and supplied him with Ms. Truman's account passwords to
help him gain access to CAI accounts. Id. ¶ 79.
CAI alleges that the Bahreinis have refused to return CAFs
property and information, and that the Bahreinis have shared
some of CAFs trade secrets with John Doe corporations and
Robin Roes. Id. ¶¶ 85-86. CAI also alleges
that the Mr. Bahreini is now working with Defendant Baker, as
Mr. Bahreini has used the email address
"firstname.lastname@example.org." Id. ¶
89. Konstellate is the alleged trade name for one of CAFs
competitors, run by Defendant Baker, a former CAI employee.
Id. ¶ 5.
Complaint. CAI asserts that Defendants have violated the
Defense of Trade Secrets Act. 18 USC § 1836. and asks
the Court for (1) an order for a civil seizure pursuant to 18
USC § 1836(b)(2)(A) for all electronic devises owned or
controlled by the Bahreinis associated with a certain IP
address or which communicated with CAI's devices or
accounts from April 24, 2017 to the present; (2) an order for
injunctive relief against Defendants prohibiting the
misappropriation of CAI's trade secrets, prohibiting the
use of CAI's trade secrets, and prohibiting anyone who
has received CAI's trade secrets from competing with CAI;
and (3) a monetary reward in excess of $10 million. ECF No. 1
April 18, 2018, CAI filed a Motion for Expedited Hearing
regarding its Complaint. alleging that it would suffer severe
and irreparable harm absent relief ECF No. 3. The next day,
on April 19. 2018, the Court ordered CAI to re-file its
Motion as a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and
Preliminary Injunction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 65, and to address the relevant legal standard laid
out by the Fourth Circuit in Real Truth About Obama. Inc.
v. FEC\ 557 F.3d 342 (4th Cir. 2009). ECF No. 4. Eleven
days later, on April 30. 2018, CAI filed its now-pending
Motion For Temporary Restraining Order and For Preliminary
Injunction. ECF No. 6. which it supplemented on May 1, ECF
3, 2018. the Defendants filed an Opposition to Plaintiffs
Motion for a TRO. ECF No. 15. and a Motion to Dismiss. Or, In
The Alternative, For More Definite Statement, ECF No.
In their Opposition. Defendants argue that CAI has not
provided "clear proof" to warrant a TRO: that CAI
has not demonstrated "extraordinary circumstances"
to warrant a civil seizure: and that CAFs information does
not meet the definition of a "trade secret."
with their Opposition, the Defendants submit Sam
Bahreini's Affidavit. ECF No. 15-3. Among other things,
this document asserts that: CAI's contact list was not
developed by Ms. Truman, but was acquired from her former
employer, id ¶ 7; CAFs business model and
projects are not confidential, but are regularly published
online, id. ¶¶ 13; Mr. Bahreini was not
informed on January 17, 2018. that his account access was
being terminated and was asked by Ms. Truman to continue
working for CAI, id, ¶ 15; the Bahreinis have
not disseminated any of CAI's information to any third
party, id. ¶ 24: and the only devices the
Bahreinis used to work for CAI were submitted to their
counsel, id ¶ 27.
on May 4, 2018. hours before the motion hearing held in
this case, CAI filed a reply to Defendants' Opposition,
along with 23 exhibits. ECF No. 17. CAI submits the
Declaration of Ms. Truman along with evidentiary exhibits
that CAI alleges undermines the credibility of Mr.
Bahreini's Affidavit and which demonstrates the harm that
CAI may suffer absent a TRO or order authorizing a civil
seizure. ECF No. 17-1. In its reply and corresponding
Declaration, CAI makes two points. First. CAI attacks Mr.
Bahreini's contention that he has "no knowledge of
any business owned, formed, or operated by Ms. Baker, "
and that his "@konstellate.com" email address was
not related to Ms. Baker. See ECF No. 15-3
¶¶ 23. 25. CAI attaches documentary evidence
indicating that (Constellate is an entity founded by Jenna
Baker that seems to compete with CAI. ECF Nos. 17-16. 17-17.
17-18. 1 7-19. which Mr. Bahreini was aware of and active in
as early as April 2, 2018. ECF No. 17-22. Second. CAI argues
that Mr. Bahreini and Konstellate have taken CAI's due
diligence of a product called "CardioSense" and
used it to solicit business from the University of
Pittsburgh-a "CAI stakeholder"-in early April 2018.
ECF No. 1 7 at 2.