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Astro-Med, Inc. v. Nihon Kohden America, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
591 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2009)


Astro-Med, Inc. (Astro-Med) (plaintiff) is Rhode Island company. Astro-Med keeps its financial and marketing information confidential. Astro-Med hired Kevin Plant (defendant). The employee agreement Plant signed included non-competition and non-disclosure clauses, as well as a forum selection clause naming Rhode Island as the proper place for dispute resolution. Astro-Med gave Plant access to its confidential information. Plant asked Astro-Med to relocate him to Florida, which it did. Subsequently, Nihon Kohden America, Inc. (Nihon) (defendant), a California corporation and competitor of Astro-Med, hired Plant out from under Astro-Med to sell its competing products in the same sales region. Nihon was aware of the employment agreement Plant had signed beforehand. Astro-Med sued Plant in federal district court in Rhode Island for breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets. Astro-Med later asserted an unfair competition claim against Plant and joined Nihon, asserting tortious interference and misappropriation of trade secrets. After a contentious trial, Astro-Med was awarded $375,800 in damages. Nihon appealed, arguing that Rhode Island was an improper venue and the case should have been dismissed or transferred.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Woodcock, J.)

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