MUFG Union Bank, NA v. Tyler et al

Filing 57

ORDER denying Plaintiff's 5 Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Signed by Judge Ricardo S Martinez. (PM)

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  1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 5 6 7 MUFG UNION BANK, N.A., a national association, 8 Plaintiff, v. 9 10 AARON TYLER, an individual, et al.., 13 14 ORDER DENYING PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Defendants. 11 12 Case No. C17-1766RSM THIS MATTER came before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Dkt. #5. On November 28, 2017, this Court entered a Temporary Restraining Order against 15 Defendants. Dkt. #12. Plaintiff had alleged that a group of its former employees resigned en 16 masse after planning for several months to take trade secrets, documents and confidential 17 information that they are now utilizing to take business and unfairly compete with it. Dkt. #5. 18 19 20 Based on the record before it at that time, the Court found that Plaintiff had sufficiently demonstrated that it was entitled to a TRO. Dkt. #12. The Court then scheduled a hearing on 21 Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction, on Thursday, December 7, 2017, at which time 22 Defendants were asked to Show Cause why a preliminary injunction should not issue. Id. The 23 24 25 Court heard oral arguments from the parties on December 7th, and allowed the submission of additional documentary evidence for the Court’s consideration. The Court considered those 26 exhibits that were presented during the hearing, as well as those exhibits and briefing submitted 27 between the time the Court issued the TRO and heard oral argument. Dkts. #18-29, 34-48 and 51- 28 ORDER - 1   1 2 3 4 5 54. The Court then informed the parties that the Motion for Preliminary Injunction would be DENIED. Dkt. #55. This written Order memorializes the oral ruling. The Ninth Circuit has described the standards for deciding whether to grant a motion for a preliminary injunction: To obtain a preliminary injunction, the moving party must show either (1) a combination of probable success on the merits and the possibility of irreparable injury, or (2) that serious questions are raised and the balance of hardships tips sharply in its favor. These formulations are not different tests but represent two points on a sliding scale in which the degree of irreparable harm increases as the probability of success on the merits decreases. Under either formulation, the moving party must demonstrate a significant threat of irreparable injury, irrespective of the magnitude of the injury. 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Big Country Foods, Inc. v. Bd. of Educ. of Anchorage Sch. Dist., 868 F.2d 1085, 1088 (9th Cir. 14 1989) (citations omitted). The speculative risk of a possible injury is not enough; the threatened 15 harm must be imminent. Caribbean Marine Services Co., Inc. v. Baldrige, 844 F.2d 668, 674 (9th 16 17 18 19 Cir. 1988); Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 65(b)(1)(A). Based on the current record, the Court cannot make a determination at this time that Plaintiff has demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits. Plaintiff has no evidence that 20 Defendants have secured any business that would have otherwise gone to Union Bank since the 21 date they left Plaintiff’s employment. Further, Defendants have submitted evidence that they are 22 not actively soliciting any of Plaintiff’s customers that were in the pipeline at the time they left 23 24 Plaintiff’s employment. See Dkts. #18-29 and 51-54. Neither party has submitted sufficient 25 evidence demonstrating that confidential documents or trade secrets were or were not removed 26 from Union Bank when Defendants left Plaintiff’s employment. Given the state of the evidence, 27 28 ORDER - 2   1 2 3 4 5 the Court cannot conclude at this stage of the proceedings that Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of any of its claims. More importantly, Plaintiff fails to demonstrate irreparable harm. Indeed, Plaintiff fails to address irreparable harm at all in its written briefing. See Dkt. #35. When asked during oral 6 argument why monetary damages were not sufficient in this case, Plaintiff did not substantively 7 respond. Instead, Plaintiff pointed to a single exhibit, Exhibit 4 of Plaintiff’s exhibits submitted 8 during oral argument, which contained an email from Bianca Mack dated July 17, 2017. Plaintiff 9 10 did not explain how this exhibit demonstrated irreparable harm. Accordingly, the Court agrees 11 with Defendants that Plaintiff’s alleged damages on each one of its claims consist of lost 12 customers, lost sales, and lost employees, which losses can be calculated in terms of monetary 13 damages. See Dkt. #18 at 28. Where damages are readily calculable, a party cannot show 14 15 16 irreparable harm and injunctive relief is not appropriate. Goldie’s Bookstore, Inc. v. Superior Court of Cal., 739 F.2d 466, 471 (9th Cir. 1984). 17 For these reasons, the Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that a preliminary 18 injunction is warranted in this matter. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction 19 20 21 (Dkt. #5) is DENIED. DATED this 11 day of December, 2017. 22 A 23 24 RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE  25 26 27 28 ORDER - 3

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