Civil Procedure Keyed to Friedenthal
A.F.A. Tours, Inc. v. Whitchurch
A.F.A. Tours, Inc. (Plaintiff) sued its former employee Whitchurch (Defendant). Plaintiff alleged that Defendant stole confidential information such as customer lists from Plaintiff after Defendant ceased employment with Plaintiff. Plaintiff further alleged that Defendant used or intended to use such information in order to compete with Plaintiff. Plaintiff requested compensatory damages in excess of $50,000 and punitive damages of $250,000. New York law allowed punitive damages if there was willful and wanton misappropriation. Defendant argued that the plaintiff did not satisfy the jurisdictional amount because he only acquired two customers to sign on to tours and that the information he used was not confidential. The District Court dismissed the case, ruling, sua sponte, that there was “no reasonable possibility” that Plaintiff could be awarded at least $50,000 in damages. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the District Court applied an incorrect standard in making this deter mination.
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