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Intel Corporation v. Hamidi

Supreme Court of California
71 P.3d 296 (Cal. 2003)


Facts

Intel Corporation (Intel) (plaintiff) maintains an electronic mail (email) system for its employees. Intel permits “reasonable non-business use” of the system. On six occasions over two years, Kourosh Kenneth Hamidi (defendant), a former Intel employee, sent mass email communications to up to 35,000 of Intel’s current employees at a time. These communications were critical of Intel’s employment practices. Hamidi provided employees the opportunity to opt out of receiving his emails if they wish. Employees receiving the emails discussed the content of the messages between themselves and their managers. The emails caused no other disruption to Intel and its computers. On several occasions, Intel asked Hamidi to cease using its equipment to transport messages. Intel brought suit against Hamidi alleging “trespass to chattels.” The trial court granted Intel’s motion for summary judgment and issued an injunction preventing Hamidi from sending emails to Intel employees through Intel’s email system. The court of appeals affirmed, and Hamidi appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Werdegar, J.)

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Concurrence (Kennard, J.)

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Dissent (Brown, J.)

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Dissent (Mosk, J.)

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