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WEC Carolina Energy

WEC Carolina Energy

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Published by pcvanslyke
A South Carolina welding company failed to show that two former employees violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) when they allegedly downloaded proprietary information and used it once they switched employers and started working for a competitor
A South Carolina welding company failed to show that two former employees violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) when they allegedly downloaded proprietary information and used it once they switched employers and started working for a competitor

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Published by: pcvanslyke on Aug 17, 2012
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08/17/2012

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PUBLISHED
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
 
WEC C
AROLINA
E
NERGY
S
OLUTIONS
LLC,
Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.No. 11-1201
W
ILLIE
M
ILLER
, a/k/a Mike; E
MILY
K
ELLEY
; A
RC
E
NERGY
S
ERVICES
I
NCORPORATED
,
 Defendants-Appellees.
Appeal from the United States District Courtfor the District of South Carolina, at Rock Hill.Cameron McGowan Currie, District Judge.(0:10-cv-02775-CMC)Argued: April 2, 2012Decided: July 26, 2012Before SHEDD and FLOYD, Circuit Judges, andHAMILTON, Senior Circuit Judge.Affirmed by published opinion. Judge Floyd wrote the opin-ion, in which Judge Shedd and Senior Judge Hamilton joined.
 
COUNSELARGUED:
Kirsten Elena Small, NEXSEN PRUET, LLC,Greenville, South Carolina, for Appellant. James WilliamBradford, Jr., JIM BRADFORD LAW FIRM, LLC, York,South Carolina; Brian S. McCoy, MCCOY LAW FIRM,LLC, Rock Hill, South Carolina, for Appellees.
ON BRIEF:
Mark Gordon, Anthony J. Basinski, PIETRAGALLO GOR-DON ALFANO BOSICK & RASPANTI, LLP, Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania; Angus H. Macaulay, NEXSEN PRUET, LLC,Greenville, South Carolina, for Appellant. Daniel H. Har-shaw, BRICE LAW FIRM, LLC, York, South Carolina, forAppellees.
OPINION
FLOYD, Circuit Judge:In April 2010, Mike Miller resigned from his position asProject Director for WEC Carolina Energy Solutions, Inc.(WEC). Twenty days later, he made a presentation to a poten-tial WEC customer on behalf of WEC’s competitor, ArcEnergy Services, Inc. (Arc). The customer ultimately chose todo business with Arc. WEC contends that before resigning,Miller, acting at Arc’s direction, downloaded WEC’s propri-etary information and used it in making the presentation.Thus, it sued Miller, his assistant Emily Kelley, and Arc for,among other things, violating the Computer Fraud and AbuseAct (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. § 1030.The district court dismissed WEC’s CFAA claim, holdingthat the CFAA provides no relief for Appellees’ alleged con-duct. We agree and therefore affirm.
2WEC C
AROLINA
E
NERGY
S
OLUTIONS
v. M
ILLER
 
I.A.In 1984, Congress initiated a campaign against computercrime by passing the Counterfeit Access Device and Com-puter Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984. Pub. L. No. 98-473, 98Stat. 2190. Shortly thereafter, in 1986, it expanded the Actwith a revised version, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, Pub. L. No. 99-474, 100 Stat. 1213. Today, the CFAAremains primarily a criminal statute designed to combat hack-ing.
 A.V. ex rel. Vanderhye v. iParadigms, LLC 
, 562 F.3d630, 645 (4th Cir. 2009). Nevertheless, it permits a privateparty "who suffers damage or loss by reason of a violation of [the statute]" to bring a civil action "to obtain compensatorydamages and injunctive relief or other equitable relief." 18U.S.C. § 1030(g). Notably, although proof of at least one of five additional factors is necessary to maintain a civil action,
1
a violation of any of the statute’s provisions exposes theoffender to both civil and criminal liability.Among other things, the CFAA renders liable a person who(1) "intentionally accesses a computer without authorizationor exceeds authorized access, and thereby obtains . . . infor-mation from any protected computer," in violation of § 1030(a)(2)(C); (2) "knowingly and with intent to defraud,accesses a protected computer without authorization, orexceeds authorized access, and by means of such conduct fur-thers the intended fraud and obtains anything of value," inviolation of § 1030(a)(4); or (3) "intentionally accesses a pro-tected computer without authorization, and as a result of suchconduct, recklessly causes damage[,] or . . . causes damageand loss," in violation of § 1030(a)(5)(B)-(C). Here, WEC
1
Maintenance of a civil action requires one of the factors outlined in§ 1030(c)(4)(A)(i)(I)-(V). Here, WEC alleges that its aggregate losses asa result of Appellees’ conduct were "at least $5,000 in value" during aone-year period, which satisfies § 1030(c)(4)(A)(i)(I).
3WEC C
AROLINA
E
NERGY
S
OLUTIONS
v. M
ILLER

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