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ARTICLE ID 193774

Defendant former DJ at plaintiff restaurant/club allegedly stole client list – Tampering with computer and sound system

Queens County, NY

This action involved a former DJ who had been employed by the plaintiff, Casa Rubio Restaurant. The defendant had given the employer three months notice that he planned on leaving the restaurant to start his own restaurant. The original complaint contained causes of action for breach of contract, prima facie tort, conversion, breach of loyalty, unfair competition, and permanent injunction. Only the causes of action for prima facie tort, breach of loyalty, and conversion survived summary judgment.

The plaintiff contended that when the defendant left, he took the contact list, erased music from the restaurant’s hard drives, and failed to provide passwords so that the restaurant could operate its website, security system, and the house computer that was used to play music.

The plaintiff called to testify: The owner, manager, former employee, security expert, as well as a web design and development expert of the restaurant who supported the plaintiff’s contentions. The credibility of the plaintiff’s witnesses was called into question by defendant’s counsel.

The defendant denied all allegations, and supported that over time, he was given more responsibility and eventually produced videos, arranged for acts to perform, built a website, and was assigned other responsibilities. The defendant maintained that he created a client list from people that would frequent the restaurant, as well as attend other functions at which he would be a DJ. The defendant asserted that ultimately, he developed a following within this restaurant, and for other private parties that he did.

The defendant also maintained that he had created the website, and in fact, the employer had the ability to relocate its website to its own account so that it could operate and maintain its website. The defendant also denied wiping out any music, and maintained that since there was no security code to the security system, other than the one that came with the security system, another individual could have easily done so.

The defendant further pointed out that there was no security code to the security system other than the one that came with the security system, and the allegations that he had wiped out music or taken hard drives were all denied.

The defendant called a former employee of the restaurant who was a guest DJ at the restaurant after the defendant left. The witness testified he had no problem using the house computer to play music, and no problem with the sound system after the plaintiff left.The jury found for the defendant.

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