Earlier this week, the United Parcel Service, Inc. (“UPS”) filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, against several unidentified UPS pilots, who are referred to in the complaint as “John Does 1-5.” The lawsuit alleges that “[i]n August 2017, certain UPS employees developed strategic plans regarding the Company’s aircraft. These plans were developed for, among other things, reporting to senior executives of the Company in late August 2017 so that they could make certain strategic business and financial decisions. Portions of these plans were included in a PowerPoint presentation created by this limited group of UPS employees (the “PowerPoint”). In preparation for the meeting, a very limited number of UPS employees had access to the PowerPoint for the purpose of its drafting and editing.” (Complaint, ¶ 7.) The lawsuit goes on to allege that the PowerPoint contained highly confidential and trade secret information. (Id. at ¶¶ 9-10.)
The complaint further states that “[a]t some point, an unknown UPS pilot wrongfully obtained a copy of the PowerPoint. The unknown UPS pilot knew that the PowerPoint contained UPS’s trade secrets. On or about September 27, 2017, the unknown UPS pilot posted statements on an online pilot discussion forum about UPS’s confidential strategic plans regarding its aircraft. At the same time, the unknown UPS pilot also posted on the website a link to a Dropbox folder where individuals could view and download the PowerPoint that was wrongfully obtained by the unknown UPS pilot.” (Id. at ¶ 13.) UPS alleges that the unknown pilot also “disclosed the contents of the PowerPoint to other individuals without the permission or authority of UPS.” UPS does not speculates as to the motive behind the alleged publication of the PowerPoint or the identity of the “other individuals” involved, but claims that the unknown UPS pilots “presently maintain copies of the PowerPoint without the permission or authority of UPS.” (Id. at ¶ 17.)
The lawsuit alleges just two causes of action: (1) violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act; and (2) violation of the Georgia Trade Secrets Act. No immediate injunctive relief was sought (likely because the identity of the pilots is currently unknown), but contemporaneous with filing suit, UPS also filed an Emergency Motion to Conduct Limited Expedited Discovery, with the stated purpose of “(1) identifying the unknown individuals who obtained the PowerPoint without permission or authorization of UPS; and (2) gathering and preserving any information necessary for UPS to pursue its claims against the Defendants.” UPS promptly supplemented its Emergency Motion, identifying three custodians from whom they wished to subpoena and requested responses within five calendar days of service.
The lawsuit is styled United Parcel Service, Inc. v. John Does 1-5, United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, Civil Action File No. 1:17-cv-03843-CAP.