Bimbo Bakeries USA, Inc. v. Botticella

(United States Third Circuit) – In plaintiff’s suit for preliminary injunctive relief against its former vice president of operations, following defendant’s acceptance of a senior executive position with plaintiff’s competitor, Hostess Brands, seeking to protect its trade secrets involving plaintiff’s popular line of Thomas’ English Muffins, of which defendant was one of only seven people who possessed all of the knowledge necessary to replicate the muffins, district court’s grant of plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction is affirmed where: 1) the district court had discretion to enjoin defendant from working at Hostess to the extent this proposed employment threatened to lead to the misappropriation of trade secrets; 2) district court did not abuse its discretion by determining that plaintiff demonstrated a likelihood of success on its misappropriation of trade secrets claim; 3) district court did not abuse its discretion when, faced with evidence of defendant’s suspicious conduct during his final weeks at plaintiff, it determined that a stronger remedy was needed in the interim to protect plaintiff from imminent irreparable harm; 4) district court was correct in concluding that the harm of plaintiff’s trade secrets being disclosed to Hostess outweighed the harm to defendant of not being able to commence employment at Hostess until the court made a final determination of the merits following a trial; and 5) district court was correct in concluding that the public interest in preventing the misappropriation of plaintiff’s trade secrets outweighs the temporary restriction of defendant’s choice of employment.