United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
PACIFIC WOODTECH CORPORATION, A Washington Corporation, Plaintiff
DANIEL SEMSAK, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION FOR
TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE
BARBARA J. ROTHSTEIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff Pacific Woodtech Corporation's
motion for temporary restraining order and order to show
cause. Dkt. No. 6. Having reviewed the motion, the
declarations included thereto, and the record of the case as
it exists, the Court with grant in part and deny in part
Plaintiff's motion. The reasoning for the Court's
is a Washington state corporation and represents itself as a
“leading manufacturer of engineered wood products,
specifically LVL and I-Joists.” Dkt. No. 1 at ¶ 1;
see also Id. at ¶ 6. Defendant is a former
executive who, until October of this year, worked for
Plaintiff. See Id. at ¶ 7. His last position at
the company was as Northeast and Northwest Business
Development Manager. Id.
position, Plaintiff represents that Defendant had access to a
“wide variety of [Plaintiff's] most confidential,
proprietary, and trade secret information.”
Id. at ¶ 9. According to Plaintiff, Defendant
agreed to be bound by Plaintiff's confidentiality
policies, including that he would not “divulge or
transmit any of [Plaintiff's] confidential or trade
secrets.” Id. at ¶ 8 see also
Dkt. No. 6 at 5-6 (providing an excerpt from Plaintiff's
employment handbook addressing Confidential and Proprietary
to Plaintiff, on October 9, 2019, Defendant informed
Plaintiff that he was leaving their employ. Dkt. No. 1 at
¶ 10. Defendant informed Plaintiff that he would be
taking a position with Plaintiff's industry competitor,
Murphy Company (“Murphy”). Dkt. No. 6 at 2, 6.
Before leaving, Plaintiff's CEO, James Enright, reminded
Defendant of his obligations to return all property belonging
to Plaintiff and not to misappropriate company trade secrets.
Dkt. No. 1 at ¶ 11.
thereafter, members of Plaintiff's company attended an
industry trade show and while there were informed that
Defendant was present at the show and was divulging
Plaintiff's “confidential  pricing strategies
involving current  customers.” Id. at 12.
responded with a cease and desist letter instructing
Defendant to cease divulgence of company trade secrets and
requesting that he return any company property. Id.
at ¶ 13; see also Dkt. No. 1-1 (cease and
desist letter). In reply, Defendant sent a letter reaffirming
his commitment not to disclose or misuse Plaintiff's
confidential and proprietary information and enclosing a
thumb drive which he represented contained “all the
written information related to” his employment with
Plaintiff, “confidential or otherwise, ” that he
retained after leaving the company. Dkt. No. 1 at ¶ 14;
see also Dkt. No. 1-2 (Defendant's response
then hired a third-party expert who conducted a forensic
analysis of Plaintiff's computer-related activities in
his final weeks with the company. According to Plaintiff, the
analysis revealed that Defendant “downloaded sensitive
 Trade Secrets onto multiple flash drives that [Defendant]
took with him when he left” Plaintiff's employ.
Dkt. No. 1 at ¶ 15; see also Dkt. No. 6 at 9
(providing tabular logs of downloaded materials). Plaintiff
represents that there is “no reason for any [of
Plaintiff's] employee[s] to download such data.”
Dkt. No. 6 at 9.
on the foregoing, Plaintiff filed the current suit.
Plaintiff's complaint, filed on December 4, 2015, asserts
causes of action for (1) theft of trade secrets under the
Defend Trade Secrets Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1832 et
seq.; (2) misappropriation of trade secrets under
Washington Revised Code (“RCW”) 19.108; (3)
breach of duties of loyalty and confidentiality; and (4)
replevin. Dkt. No. 1 at ¶¶ 20-43. On December 5,
2015, Plaintiff moved for a temporary restraining order
which: (1) enjoins Defendant from disclosing or using
Plaintiff's confidential information and trade secrets;
(2) requires Defendant to turn over “all of
[Plaintiff's] confidential information and trade secrets
. . . as well as all of [Defendant]'s personal computers
and [Defendant]'s work computers” so that Plaintiff
may image them to preserve evidence, identify to whom else
Defendant may have passed trade secrets, and to prevent
further disclosure; (3) requires Defendant to preserve all
evidence; (4) requires Murphy to preserve all evidence; and
(5) requires Defendant to show cause as to why a preliminary
injunction preventing him from possessing, disclosing, or
using Plaintiff's confidential and trade secrets is not
warranted. Dkt. No. 6 at 3-4.
Rule of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) 65(b) empowers
federal district courts to issue temporary restraining orders
(“TRO”). Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(b); see also
Local Rules W.D. Wash. LCR 65(b).
obtain a TRO, the movant must “meet the standards for
issuing a preliminary injunction.” Navigant
Consulting, Inc. v. Milliman, Inc., No. 18-1154, 2018 WL
3751983, at *3 (W.D. Wash. Aug. 8, 2018). This includes the
requirement that the movant show that (1) it is likely to
succeed on the merits of its claims, (2) it is likely to
suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief,
(3) the balance of equities tips in its favor, and ...