As reported in March of 2023, Shimoda & Rodriguez Law, PC and the trial team of Brittany Berzin and Renald Konini successfully defended their client, Michelle Eckhardt, against false claims made by Ms. Eckhardt’s former employer, Everlasting Gifts, Inc. (Everlasting).
Following the successful outcome of the jury trial, Shimoda & Rodriguez Law, PC filed a motion to recover attorneys’ fees in the amount of $279,655.00. The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) allows the prevailing party to request attorneys’ fees upon an express finding that a trade secrets lawsuit was willfully malicious or filed in bad faith (Civil Code section 3426.3(c); SASCO v. Rosendin Electric, Inc., (2012) 207 Cal.App.4th 837, 848-849.).
This case began on June 6, 2018, when Everlasting filed a lawsuit against Ms. Eckhardt, a former employee, claiming that Ms. Eckhardt unlawfully used its vendor and customer information to start a competing business and unlawfully solicited customers. This lawsuit was filed two months after the California Labor Commissioner made a determination that Everlasting unlawfully retaliated against Ms. Eckhardt for exercising her right to use accrued sick leave.
Shimoda & Rodriguez Law, PC picked up the representation of Ms. Eckhardt pro bono and endured multiple trial continuances in a case that lasted almost five years.
Throughout the trial Ms. Eckhardt denied the allegations brought against her and made a sufficient showing that Everlasting filed the claim a few months after the Labor Commissioner issued a decision in favor of Ms. Eckhardt. Everlasting failed to present any evidence during the trial to support the accusations made in their lawsuit against Ms. Eckhardt.
As a result of Shimoda & Rodriguez Law, PC’s vigorous and thorough defense the trail jury found that Everlasting failed to act fairly or in good faith in their filing of lawsuit against Ms. Eckhardt. With that finding, Shimoda & Rodriguez Law, PC was able to file a motion requesting an award of attorney’s fees under Civil Code section 3426.3(c).
This case reflects Shimoda & Rodriguez Law, PC’s tireless commitment to all their clients. Brittany Berzin and Renald Konini spent nearly 700 pro bono hours over the course of five years defending their client against frivolous and malicious charges. In doing so, Shimoda & Rodriguez Law, PC provided a thorough defense that Ms. Eckhardt would have otherwise been unable to afford. Shimoda & Rodriguez Law, PC represents all clients with unwavering professionalism throughout the entire lifespan of a matter, pursuing justice and favorable outcomes in all their cases.
If you believe you have a Wrongful Termination claim against your current or previous employer, Shimoda & Rodriguez Law, PC can help you navigate arbitration if needed.