This paper discusses a significant decision recently issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which addresses whether a former executive was properlyrestricted from soliciting plaintiff’s customers through the individualclient contacts he had developed while in, and prior to, plaintiff’s employ.Affirming the district court’s grant of a preliminary injunction, the SecondCircuit ruled that a list of such client contacts constitutes a protectabletrade secret under New York law.

In North Atlantic Instruments,Inc. v. Haber, [FOOTNOTE 1]theSecond Circuit, in an opinion written by Judge Chester J. Straub and joinedby Judge Guido Calabresi, affirmed a district court judgment, followingan eight-day evidentiary hearing, preliminarily enjoining defendants from”soliciting particular client contacts contained in a list allegedly misappropriated”from plaintiff. In so ruling, the appeals court held that “the list ofclient contacts prepared and used by [defendant] while he was an employeeof [plaintiff] constituted a protectable trade secret and that the defendantswere bound not to use the information contained in the list.” Judge EllsworthA. Van Graafeiland dissented.