Epstein v. C. R. Bard, Inc.
United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
460 F.3d 183 (2006)
Scott Epstein (plaintiff) agreed to ship his so-called Tigertail medical catheters to C. R. Bard, Inc. (Bard) (defendant) only after Bard signed nondisclosure agreements to protect the Tigertail design as Epstein’s trade secret. Bard marketed the catheters, but Epstein subsequently stopped shipment when Bard notified Epstein that it no longer needed the catheters. On October 10, 1999, Epstein wrote to Bard, inquiring into rumors that Bard was still marketing the Tigertail catheters and asking Bard either to dispel those rumors or explain its conduct. On November 10, 1999, Bard responded with a promise to deliver a suitable explanation. On January 6, 2000, Epstein complained that he had not yet received Bard’s explanation and threatened to sue if he did not receive that explanation within 30 days. Nothing further happened until October 15, 2003, when Epstein sued Bard for trade-secret misappropriation. The federal district court granted Bard’s Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motion for dismissal on the grounds that (1) Epstein’s cause of action accrued no later than October 10, 1999, and (2) Epstein’s October 15, 2003, suit was, therefore, time-barred by a four-year statute of limitations. Epstein appealed to the First Circuit, arguing that any limitations period was tolled either by Bard’s failure to respond properly to Epstein’s October 1999 letter or by Bard’s fraudulent concealment of its misappropriation.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Torruella, J.)
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