Barry Guryan Quoted in “Company Can’t Sue Independent Contractor for Stealing Trade Secrets”

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

Barry Guryan, a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences and Labor and Employment practices and Managing Shareholder of the firm's Boston office, was quoted in an article titled "Company Can't Sue Independent Contractor for Stealing Trade Secrets."

Following is an excerpt:

A company that hired an independent contractor without requiring him to sign a confidentiality agreement could not later sue him for misappropriation of trade secrets, a Superior Court judge has decided.

The plaintiff company apparently had brought aboard the defendant contractor - the nephew of a customer who was negotiating to buy the company - to help run the business. When the negotiations fell through, the defendant resigned and allegedly absconded with customer lists, accounting records and other confidential information, leading to the misappropriation suit.

The defendant contended that he could not be held liable for misappropriation because the plaintiff had not taken sufficient measures to protect such information.

Judge Cornelius J. Moriarlry agreed, rejecting the plaintiffs argument that testimony from two employees that they understood the information to be confidential showed that proper steps had, in fact, been taken to protect the company's trade secrets.

Barry A. Guryan, also a Boston trade secret lawyer, said the decision is a reminder that companies need to ensure confidential information is available only to those with a "need to know."

"Companies should [also] be careful to prevent trade secrets and confìdential information from becoming readily available either internally to employees or externally to customers or others through social media or otherwise," said Guryan, who practices at Epstein Becker Green.