Bernhard Law Firm filed a new fraud lawsuit against a credit union this month and was separately engaged to defend an intellectual property lawsuit alleging misappropriation of trade secrets. The fraud-based lawsuit relates to a Miami bank’s fraudulent conversion of a local family’s investment account. The intellectual property lawsuit relates to a business competitor’s misappropriation allegations against a former associate in the international supply of automotive specialty products. See excerpts of the lawsuit pleadings below.
THE FIRST LAWSUIT – A.M. and Family v. Credit Union
The first, a Miami-Dade lawsuit between a local family and a local credit union banking institution, alleges fraud, fraudulent destruction of evidence, violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, intentional interference with a testamentary expectation, and breach of fiduciary duties. As garnered from excerpts of the pleadings:
“[The family is] requesting a judgment against [the Credit Union] for its egregious mishandling of [the family grandson]’s bank account after the death of his grandmother, [the Credit Union]’s fraud to cover up its banking errors and dissuade the  family from investigating the bank’s wrongs, [the Credit Union]’s outrageously racist and reckless conduct towards the  family throughout this cover-up, and the resulting irrevocable destruction of family ties and relationships caused by [the Credit Union]’s atrocious and utterly intolerable behavior.”
THE SECOND LAWSUIT – V4 v. F.V.
The second, a Miami-Dade lawsuit between two businesses, alleges misappropriation of trade secrets and other improper business acts. Bernhard Law Firm is defending the intellectual property suit, raising legal deficiencies under the Florida Antitrust Act and Florida’s intellectual property statutes. The firm has initially challenged on several grounds, including failing to properly plead the basic elements and facts of a misappropriation claim, which requires a showing of the following elements:
- Existence of a trade secret—specific information that derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use;
- Kept secret by reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy;
- Acquired by improper means (theft, bribery, misrepresentation, breach or inducement of a breach of a duty to maintain secrecy, or espionage);
- By a person who has reason to know that the trade secret was acquired by improper means or disclosed by a person who (i) used improper means to acquire knowledge of the trade secret or (ii) at the time of disclosure or use knew or had reason to know that his knowledge of the trade secret was (a) derived from a person who used improper means to acquire it, (b) acquired under circumstances giving rise to a duty to maintain its secrecy or limit is use, or (c) derived from or through a person who owed a duty to the person seeking relief to maintain its secrecy or limit is use, or (iii) before a material change of his position, knew or had reason to know that it was a trade secret and that knowledge of it had been acquired by accident or mistake. See s. 688.01, et seq., Fla. Stat. (2013).