Legal Question in Technology Law in Florida

Deleting Company Email

I chose to leave my company of 7 years mainly because of a 40% salary cut. As a result, I decided to leave. The next morning I went in to clear out. During my clean up of personal items, I realized I had to remove some personal emails from my desktop, in doing so, and feeling I was severly dumped upon by the company that refered to me as ''one of the family'' I deleted what I needed to, packed my stuff and left the property. I was out of there by 7am. Around 11am I received a call from the police telling me he needed to talk to me about the problem between ''X'' company and myself. The short of a long story is, finally after a few days of phone calls between myself and the officer, in which I had explained to him that there was at least 3 hours between the time that I left and others to get into the PC, I finally asked him ''Exactly where are we going with this?'' ''am I being arrested for something?'' He replied...''No, but, you will be charged with ''Grand Theft of Trade Secrets!'' I then said...''Are you kidding! This is a construction outfit, not Coca-Cola! My question is, this happened back in October (14), it is now December 3rd, I was told it's turned in to the DA and assigned an assistant and now to a 2nd, Where could this go?

Asked on 12/03/08, 9:59 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Johm Smith tom's

Re: Deleting Company Email

You'll have to see if the DA chooses to pursue it; they may not.

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Answered on 12/09/08, 12:46 pm
Hunter Chamberlin Chamberlin Butler & Crowe, P.A.

Re: Deleting Company Email

Where this could go is, at this point, hard to tell. It depends on many things. However, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to immediately stop talking about this case. Do not discuss it with anyone, especially the police. Anything you say can and will be used against you.

You absolutely will not talk your way out of trouble. Despite what the police tell you, cooperation at this point will not help you, only hurt you. I am a former prosecutor, and I have seen defendants talk themselves right into prison many times.

Among the critical considerations in your particular case are 1) what did you delete, 2) what your company alleges you deleted; and 3) whether the company alleges or believes you took other proprietary information or property.

Much of the evidence in this case will require computer forensic experts to determine what if anything was deleted, and when. (The truth is, however, nothing is ever really deleted off a computer, and whatever you deleted can almost certainly be retrieved by a qualified expert.)

Please contact my office if you would like to discuss your case further.

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Answered on 12/04/08, 9:09 am

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