Cases from William Gallo

United States District Court for the Southern District of California
Due to policy concerns, the Southern District of California required pre-discovery identification of trade secrets despite finding California Code of Civil Procedure §2910.210 inapplicable in federal court

     In Jardin v. DATAllegro, Inc., No. 10-CV-2552-IEG (WVG), 2011 WL 3299395 (S.D. Cal. July 29, 2011), the United States District Court for the Southern District of California considered whether the pre-discovery trade secret identification requirement of California Code of Civil Procedure §2019.210 also applies in California federal court. Section 2019.210 requires that trade secrets be identified with reasonable particularity before discovery commences, in an effort to prevent abuse of discovery and to enable defendants to form complete and well-reasoned defenses.

     Jardin concerns a patent dispute, in which plaintiff Cary Jardin alleged that defendant Stuart Frost stole nonpublic information while employed by Jardin. Frost then formed his own company, defendant DATAllegro, Inc., and allegedly used the misappropriated information to file for a patent. Although Jardin involves patent claims, the case implicates trade secrets law because Jardin’s patent claims were based upon the misappropriation of nonpublic information. Therefore, DATAllegro argued that discovery could not be conducted until Jardin identified the allegedly misappropriated information with reasonable particularity, pursuant to §2019.210.

     Magistrate Judge Gallo ultimately declined to apply §2019.210 in federal court. However, Judge Gallo was influenced by the policy concerns underlying §2019.210 and used his discretion under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to, nevertheless, order Jardin to identify the allegedly misappropriated information prior to discovery. Jardin objected to this order, but it was upheld by District Judge Irma Gonzalez on July 29, 2011. Judge Gonzalez held that Judge Gallo had committed no error in requiring pre-discovery identification and that he had broad discretion under the Federal Rules to consider policy concerns when granting his order.