Suit To Protect Thomas English Muffins Trade Secrets, Plus Decisions In Criminal Matters - U.S. Third Circuit
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Suit To Protect Thomas English Muffins Trade Secrets, Plus Decisions In Criminal Matters

US v. Flemming, 09-2726, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's motion for a reduction of his 175-month sentence for his federal firearm and crack cocaine offenses, concluding that it lacked authority to reduce defendant's sentence because he was a career offender under U.S.S.G. section 4B1.1.  In vacating the judgment, the court remanded for the district court to exercise its discretion to determine whether, and to what extent, a reduction in defendant's sentence is warranted as, under a pre-2003 edition of the Sentencing Guidelines, a career offender who is granted a section 4A1.3 downward departure to the Crack Cocaine Guidelines range is eligible for a sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. section 3582(c)(2).

US v. Bankoff, 08-3275, concerned a prosecution of defendant for threatening two employees of the Social Security Administration in violation of section 115 of Title 18 of the United States Code, making it a crime to "threaten to assault, kidnap, or murder...an official whose killing would be a crime under" section 1114, which in turn, makes it a crime to kill "any officer or employee of the United States or of any agency in any branch of the United States Government."

In vacating in part, the court held that the district court erred in ruling that an individual does not qualify as an "official" within the meaning of section 115 unless he or she is "authorized to make decisions on behalf of the government" as section 115 incorporates by reference all persons covered by section 1114, and accordingly, section 115 applies to threats against federal employees whose killing would be a crime under section 1114. Thus, because section 115 applies to both employees defendant threatened, district court's denial of a judgment of acquittal on count two is affirmed, but the district court's grant of judgment of acquittal on count three is vacated and remanded.  Lastly, defendant's Sixth Amendment violation claim is rejected.

Bimbo Bakeries USA, Inc. v. Botticella, 10-1510, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction in plaintiff's suit for preliminary injunctive relief against its former vice president of operations, following defendant's acceptance of a senior executive position with plaintiff's competitor, Hostess Brands, seeking to protect its trade secrets involving plaintiff's popular line of Thomas' English Muffins, of which defendant was one of only seven people who possessed all of the knowledge necessary to replicate the muffins. 

In affirming, the court held that the district court had discretion to enjoin defendant from working at Hostess to the extent this proposed employment threatened to lead to the misappropriation of trade secrets.  The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by determining that plaintiff demonstrated a likelihood of success on its misappropriation of trade secrets claim, nor when, faced with evidence of defendant's suspicious conduct during his final weeks at plaintiff, it determined that a stronger remedy was needed in the interim to protect plaintiff from imminent irreparable harm.  Court further held that the district court was correct in concluding that the harm of plaintiff's trade secrets being disclosed to Hostess outweighed the harm to defendant of not being able to commence employment at Hostess until the court made a final determination of the merits following a trial, and that the district court was correct in concluding that the public interest in preventing the misappropriation of plaintiff's trade secrets outweighs the temporary restriction of defendant's choice of employment.

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