Dodge, Warren & Peters Ins. Serv., Inc. v. Riley, 105 Cal. App. 4th 1414 (2003)

James W. Riley and several of his co-workers were terminated from Dodge, an insurance brokerage firm, after Dodge learned of their intention to obtain copies of documents maintained in Dodge’s files and computer storage media before opening their own competing insurance brokerage. Dodge filed a complaint against Riley, et al., alleging, among other things, misappropriation of its trade secrets, unfair business practices and breach of fiduciary duty. Dodge also applied ex parte for an order “freezing” the former employees’ electronically stored data. The trial court granted Dodge’s application and entered an injunction in its favor. The Court of Appeal affirmed the granting of the injunction, holding that there was a reasonable likelihood that Dodge would prevail on the merits of its claims against Riley and that Dodge could suffer irreparable harm if some or all of the electronic evidence were to be destroyed either deliberately or inadvertently. The Court denied Dodge’s request for sanctions against Riley.