Law Firm’s ADA Database is Not a Trade Secret According to Pennsylvania Court

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The Alleghany Court of Common Pleas in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, recently denied a law firm’s request to enjoin its former partner from retaining a database that contained various information used to file legal actions under the American with Disabilities Act. According to the law firm, the database was a “trade secret” of the firm, and consequently, the former partner violated the Pennsylvania Trade Secrets Act when he retained a copy of the database after being voted out of the firm in January. The court, however, disagreed with the law firm. In doing so, the court noted that the former partner had an ownership interest in the database when he was part of the firm, and as a result, the former partner could retain a copy of the database when he left. The court then went on to note that, since the data base now resided at two different law firms, the database could not be considered a trade secret under the Pennsylvania Trade Secrets Act. This case, which is titled Carlson Lynch Sweet Kailpela & Carpenter, LLP v. Sweet, GD-19-2790, is a reminder to all law firms, as well as companies in general, to be cognizant of what owners can and cannot take when they are dismissed from their firm. We will continue to monitor the case and will provide additional updates on this website.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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