Mother’s Day Post: Mother And Son Accused Of Trade Secret Theft

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In honor of Mother’s Day, we note a case in which mother and son were both accused of misappropriating trade secrets.

Arlene Specter (no, not Arlen Specter) was an insurance agent at First Express Services Group who joined her son Mark’s competing insurance agency, Easter & Associates.  First Express sued Ms. Easter and her son in Nebraska state court for, among other things, violating the Nebraska Trade Secrets Act.  First Express claimed that Arlene stole a “commission sheet” (basically, a customer list) and that she and her son used it to solicit clients for the family business.

The jury returned a verdict in First Express’s favor, awarding damages of $280,320 against mom and $84,093 against son.  We didn’t poll the jury, but Mark’s admission at trial that “[m]y mother took a list from First Express to solicit customers” might’ve had something to do with the verdict.

The case, First Express Services Group, Inc. v. Easter, et al., is currently on appeal before the Nebraska Supreme Court.  For those of you who are curious about a case that was actually tried under the Nebraska Trade Secrets Act, you can listen to the appellate oral arguments here.