The State ex rel. Lukin v. Corporation for Findlay Market of Cincinnati

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Trade Secrets, Lease Agreements
  • Date Filed: 04-24-2013
  • Case #: No. 2012–0992
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Supreme Court of Ohio
  • LexisNexis Citation: 2013 Ohio LEXIS 959
  • Westlaw Citation: 2013 WL 1760955
  • Full Text Opinion

Terms of lease agreements in regards to consideration paid and duration are considered trade secrets and excluded from public records requests.

Opinion (Per Curiam): Kevin Lukin ("Lukin"), a Cincinnati realtor, filed an action for mandamus to compel the non-profit Corporation for Findlay Market of Cincinnati ("Corporation") to disclose un-redacted copies of its lease agreements with sub-lessees. The Corporation refused to provide un-redacted copies on the grounds that the redacted information constituted trade secrets; and so was exempt from the Ohio public records statute. At the time the action was filed, no employee or member of the Corporation's board of trustees was an employee of the city of Cincinnati, nor were they paid by the city. The Court held that an order of mandamus was improper because the Corporation was not a public entity and the Corporation did not have to provide un-redacted records because the redacted information was a trade secret. The information was a trade secret because it had independent economic value and there were reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy. The Court further considered the Besser factors: (1) how widely the information was known outside the business; (2) how widely the information was known inside the business; (3) precautions taken by the holder of the trade secret to safeguard the information; (4) the savings effectuated and the value to the holder of the information as against competitors; (5) the amount of money or effort expended in obtaining and developing the information; and (6) the amount of time and expense it would require others to acquire and duplicate the information. The Court found the first factor easily satisfied by the Corporation. The second factor was a closer decision because the Corporation did not have a policy specifically on nondisclosure of the type of information that was redacted, and the tenants were free to do so as they chose. However, because this was considered standard procedure for the industry, the Court found the nondisclosure factor satisfied. The final four factors were also found easily satisfied by the Court and therefore Lukin was not entitled to un-redacted copies of the lease agreements through public records requests. Accordingly, the Court AFFIRMED the denial of the writ of mandamus.

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