The Delaware Court of Chancery recently addressed an issue that commonly appears in corporate and commercial litigation: the alleged misuse of customer lists by someone other than the company who created the list. In American Messaging Services LLC v. DocHalo, LLC, C.A. No. 10761-VCN (Del. Ch. Apr. 9, 2015), the court recited the well-worn prerequisites for obtaining a temporary restraining order (TRO).
In contrast to a request for a preliminary injunction, the focus in the court’s review of a motion seeking a TRO is more on the irreparable harm factor based on a mere colorable claim, but in this case the court found that even if the requirement for establishing a colorable claim was barely met, the balancing of the equities did not favor grant of the TRO. In part, this was due to the agreement between the two parties that they were, under certain circumstances, entitled to cross-sell to their customers as part of a joint venture that quickly soured. That is a factual component that is not commonly present in most cases alleging a misappropriation of customer lists, even though customer lists are often within the definition of the state statute for trade secrets.