Legal Question in Business Law in South Dakota

Use of Customer list for mailings

I am a seasonal emloyeer. This year former employees started there own company. They mailed each of my customers a letter informing them of there price per service and that each former employee is now part of this LLC. They did not--name removed--change the prices. They used mine for that too. They also put in this letter that they look forward to serviceing them like they have done in the past. I dont care in they contact my customers. But the letters look like it may have come from me and that i have changed the name of my company. They--name removed--used address labels that were printed off my customer list to contact these customers.

Asked on 2/29/04, 7:19 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Thomas Schober Schober Schober & Mitchell, S.C.

Re: Use of Customer list for mailings

Presuming the information your employees took was not public knowledge, Wisconsin has a law against stealing trade secrets. The information you indicated probably qualifies as a trade secret. You would have both civil and criminal recourse. If you sue civilly, you could get an injunction and damages. If you go to the District Attorney, you may get him to prosecute, and a judge may order restitution. If you do go to the DA, you cannot use that as a negotiating ploy or a threat against your former employees. You just do it. Otherwise, it is blackmail, and you have committed it. I also want you to know that there is risk in any litigation, and you may not win. You should see an attorney well versed in these matters to give you detailed, competent advice.

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Answered on 3/01/04, 8:57 pm

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