Fred Siegel Co., L.P.A. v. Arter & Hadden

707 N.E.2d 853 (1999)

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Fred Siegel Co., L.P.A. v. Arter & Hadden

Ohio Supreme Court
707 N.E.2d 853 (1999)

KL

Facts

Karen Bauernschmidt (defendant) was an associate attorney who worked for Fred Siegel of Fred Siegel Co., L.P.A. (Siegel Co.) (plaintiff) before leaving to work for Arter & Hadden (defendant). Bauernschmidt did not contractually have her own clients, but she worked on cases for Siegel’s clients. Upon her departure, Bauernschmidt solicited clients with whom she worked at Siegel Co., which then sued Bauernschmidt and Arter & Hadden for tortious interference with contract and misappropriation of trade secrets. The evidence was unclear as to whether Siegel Co. kept its client list confidential and whether Bauernschmidt used Siegel’s client list to prepare her solicitation or re-created her own contact list. The trial court entered summary judgment for Bauernschmidt on both claims. The appellate court reversed, and Bauernschmidt appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court. Bauernschmidt argued on appeal that she was justified in contacting her former clients, and Siegel Co. argued that Bauernschmidt acted wrongfully in misappropriating Siegel Co.’s client list and using it to solicit clients.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Moyer, C.J.)

Dissent (Cook, J.)

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