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Pine Environmental Services, LLC v. Carson

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

August 20, 2014

PINE ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
CHARLENE CARSON and PALMS ENVIRONMENTAL AND SURVEY, LLC, Defendants

For Pine Environmental Services LLC, Plaintiff: Bronwyn L. Roberts, LEAD ATTORNEY, Duane Morris LLP, Boston, MA; Jennifer A. Kearns, PRO HAC VICE, Duane Morris LLP, San Diego, CA.

For Charlene Carson, Palms Environmental & Survey, LLC, Defendants, Counter Claimants: John W. Davis, Davis & Davis, P.C., Boston, MA.

For Pine Environmental Services LLC, Counter Defendant: Bronwyn L. Roberts, LEAD ATTORNEY, Duane Morris LLP, Boston, MA; Jennifer A. Kearns, Duane Morris LLP, San Diego, CA.

Page 72

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Indira Talwani, United States District Judge.

I. Introduction

This case presents the issue of whether a laptop computer, previously used in interstate commerce, is a " protected computer" under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (" Act" ), 18 U.S.C. § 1030, et seq., even when the laptop computer is not being used in interstate commerce. As set forth below, the court finds that such a laptop is not a " protected computer" under the Act, and that in the absence of this federal claim, the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims and Defendants' counterclaims.

II. Background

Plaintiff Pine Environmental Services, LLC (" Pine" ), a New Jersey company, provides rental environmental equipment to other businesses in the United States. 1st Am. Compl. ¶ 1 [#16] [hereainafter Am. Compl.]. On November 6, 2012, Defendant Charlene Carson (" Carson" ), a Massachusetts resident, recommenced employment with Pine. Id. ¶ ¶ 3, 13. In June 2013, Pine

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provided Carson with a Pine-owned laptop (the " Laptop" ). Id. ¶ 16. Pine alleges that while employed at Pine, Carson used the Laptop to communicate and maintain information regarding numerous customers and/or customer locations with which Pine was engaged in interstate commerce. Id. ¶ 122.

Carson's last day of employment was February 19, 2014. Id. ¶ ¶ 23-24. After leaving Pine, Carson went to work for Palms Environmental and Survey, LLC (" Palms" ), a Massachusetts company that is a competitor of Pine. See id. ¶ ¶ 4, 5, 26.

Carson did not return the Laptop to Pine on her last day of work. Id. ¶ 25. On the evening of April 17, 2014, Carson's roommate, Steven Ficociello, observed Carson in their shared apartment working on the Laptop. See id. ¶ ¶ 34-35. Ficociello left the room, and when he returned, Carson had left the Laptop behind with a note requesting that Ficociello return the Laptop to Pine. Id. ¶ 35. Ficociello did so, and subsequently, a Pine employee discovered that customer-related files had been accessed on Carson's computer on April 17, 2014. See id. ¶ ¶ 37-39.

Pine performed a forensic analysis of the Laptop and determined that at 10:12 p.m. on April 17, 2014, a software program called CCleaner was installed on the Laptop. See id. ¶ ¶ 44-45. CCleaner is designed to delete files, temporary files, event logs, Registry entries, internet browsing history, and cookies. Id. ¶ 45. CCleaner can clean out the Recycle Bin, Recent Docs, and other operating system files. Id. CCleaner revealed that it had been used on April 17, 2014 ...


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