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Washington Consulting Group, Inc. v. Raytheon Technology Services Company, LLC et al.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 03-07-2014
Case #: 2010 CA 000296 B
Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Civil Division
Full Text Opinion: not yet available
LexisNxis Link: 2013 D.C. Super. LEXIS 5
Westlaw Link: not yet available

Trade Secrets: Misappropriation: Misappropriation was not found when movant could not provide causal link between the alleged misappropriation and the damage suffered.

Opinion (Josey-Herring):  Washington Consulting Group, Inc ("Washington") a company that trains air traffic controllers, contracted with the Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") to train its incoming air traffic controllers. Washington brought suit because the FAA changed their air traffic control hiring protocol, which required that the contractor fully train potential air traffic controllers before their hire, which required a larger financial investment than Washington was able to put forth. This policy change effectively removed Washington's position as the prime contractor. The FAA then reverted back to the old protcol, removing the training element, and chose defendant Raytheon Technology Services Company, LLC ("Raytheon") as the successful bidder. As an alternative to expectancy damages, Washington pursued a tortious interference claim against Raytheon which included several trade secret misappropriation claims. Washington alleged that Raytheon possessed the old version of the contract between Washington and the FAA, and that Washington had circumstantial evidence that Raytheon also possessed some of Washington's trade secrets which Raytheon used to formulate its successful bid. Raytheon moved for summary judgment on all the outstanding claims. Washington cited citing DSMC v. Convera Corp. 479 F. Supp. 2d 68, 77 (2007) which advanced that the only elements of misappropriation are:  "(1) the existence of a trade secret; and (2) acquisition of the trade secret by improper means, or improper use or disclosure by one under a duty not to disclose." Washington argued that because these were the only elements, they were not required to demonstrate a causal nexus under the District of Columbia Uniform Trade Secrets Act ("DCUTSA") The court disagreed, holding that Washington was required to demonstrate the causal link between the misappropriation of the trade secret and the damage suffered by Washington. Accordingly the court GRANTED summary judgment to Raytheon on the misappropriation claim. (However, the court also found that Washington advanced sufficient evidence that Raytheon "used" other trade secrets within the scope of the DCUTSA to deny summary judgment on that issue.)