SASCO v. Rosendin Elec., Inc., 2012 WL 2826955 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012)

SASCO sued three of its former senior managers and their new employer (Rosendin Electric) for, among other things, misappropriation of trade secrets under the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act. More than two years after it filed the litigation (in which the “parties engaged in fierce discovery battles”), SASCO voluntarily dismissed the action without filing an opposition to defendants’ motion for summary judgment. Defendants then filed a motion for attorney’s fees and costs pursuant to Cal. Civ. Code § 3426.4, asserting the lack of evidence of any trade secret misappropriation by defendants. The trial court granted defendants’ motion and awarded them the total amount of $484,943.46 because there was no evidence of misappropriation of any trade secret – “instead, SASCO sued defendants based on the suspicion that they must have misappropriated trade secrets because the individual defendants left the employ of SASCO to work for a competitor.” The Court of Appeal affirmed.