Attorney’s Fees Not Rewarded Available Under DTSA When Neither Party Prevails

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit heard its first Defend Trade Secrets Act case but ruled on attorneys’ fees in the case, not trade secrets. Both the Plaintiff and Defendant were members of a limited liability company that placed blue wayfinding signs on Texas highways. When the company’s contract expired, the Defendants declined to include the Plaintiffs in a new company which acted as a competitor and won the contract. Halfway through the case, the district court granted the Plaintiff’s motion to dismiss without prejudice, allowing them to refile at a later time if they choose. Defendants sought to recover attorneys’ fees as a prevailing party under the Act from the Plaintiff. The district court denied the motion for fees and an appeal followed. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling because neither party qualified as a “prevailing party” under the Act due to the dismissal. Find the details of the case here.