Judge denies permission for attorney to access former partner's server

By Chandra Lye | Apr 20, 2017

SAN JOSE — A judge for the U.S. District Court Northern District of California has denied an application for an attorney to access his former legal partner’s server. 

The working relationship between Zurvan Mahamedi and William Paradice turned sour last year when Paradice decided to leave the two-partner firm and start his own, according to Paradice’s lawyer, Brian Mitchell.

“The essence, the money aspect of the case, has to do with this pending arbitration," Mitchell told the Northern California Record. "That has to do with a claim made by Paradice against Mahamedi, that Mahamedi owes my client, among other things, a significant amount of money relating to the dissolution of their prior two-person partnership."

During the course of the dispute, Mahamedi filed a claim under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), claiming that Paradice had stolen information when he left the firm.

“This firm essentially dissolved,” Mitchell said.

He added that about half of the staff stayed with Mahamedi and the other portion went with Paradice.

As part of the split, Mitchell said that Paradice had informed Mahamedi that he would be taking the database and other information, which was evidenced in one of the exhibits that was an email from the IT system manager. 

“This was known and understood at the time the parties separated,” Mitchell said. “It didn’t become an issue, it didn’t become a trade secret, until the divorce soured. It wasn’t something that my client was not to be entitled to own or entitled to copy and above and beyond that Mahamedi knew it was copied.”

Mitchell said that the case was unlikely to succeed under the DTSA. 

“The alleged trade secrets were misappropriated, according to the allegations, misappropriated before the Trade Secret Act came into effect," he said.

From here, Mitchell said that he and his client have requested to send either the whole thing or just the dispute over the money a confidential, non-public binding arbitration.

However, he added that he anticipated Mahamedi would try and keep a court battle going “to try and raise these ancillary issues.”

Mahamedi and his lawyer declined to comment for the story.

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