BlueEarth Biofuels v. Hawaiian Electric Co.
Hawaii Supreme Court
123 Hawaii 314 (2010)
BlueEarth Biofuels, LLC (BlueEarth) (plaintiff), Hawaiian Electric Company. Inc. (HEC) (defendant), and HEC’s partner companies (partners) (defendants) discussed the possibility of joining in a new energy project. All the participants in these discussions were bound by contractual arrangements that included nondisclosure agreements to preserve the confidentiality of each other’s proprietary information. BlueEarth subsequently accused HEC and its partners of sharing BlueEarth’s confidential information and trade secrets in an attempt to cut BlueEarth out of the project. BlueEarth lodged a multicount, federal-court complaint against HEC and its partners, who moved to dismiss any count not based on their alleged contract breaches and misappropriation of BlueEarth’s trade secrets. The federal district court submitted a certified question asking the Hawaii Supreme Court for guidance in interpreting Hawaii’s equivalent of § 7 of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), the UTSA’s section on preemption.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Duffy, J.)
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