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Supreme Court affirms dismissal of solid waste suit

The Idaho Supreme Court recently affirmed a district court judgment dismissing a civil suit by Grangeville-based Walco, Inc., against Idaho County for alleged misappropriation of trade secrets during contract negotiation for solid waste disposal services.

Walco brought suit against the county in March 2013, claiming intentional interference with an economic expectancy and misappropriation of a trade secret under the Idaho Trade Secrets Act and seeking at least $1.2 million in alleged damages. This followed award by the county commission the November prior of a 10-year $77,202 monthly base rate solid waste contract for the Camas Prairie and south into Elk City to Simmons Sanitation of Kamiah.

Walco previously held the contract for this service area and in its bid request proposed an $87,000 base rate.

In a May 29, 2014, judgement, District Judge John R. Stegner ruled Walco did not have viable claims for its allegations, among these that Walco did not make reasonable efforts to maintain the confidentiality of its trade secret; specifically, its bid amount proposal did not constitute a trade secret because they did not take reasonable steps under the circumstances to maintain secrecy of that information.

For the Idaho Supreme Court, reviewing the appeal on this case, Justice Daniel T. Eismann, in a 10-page opinion released Sept. 25, reaffirmed the lower court’s decision, saying at one point, “By failing to object to the opening of its proposal after the Walco representative knew that the proposals were being opened in public, Walco failed to take reasonable efforts to maintain the secrecy of its proposal, even assuming that it believed that its proposal constituted a trade secret.”

Along with affirming the district court’s dismissal, Eismann awarded respondents costs on the appeal.

Eagle attorney Dennis M. Charney represented Walco, Inc. Lewiston attorneys David R. Risley and Joshua D. McKarcher represented, respectively, respondents Simmons Sanitation Service and Idaho County.

Read the full Idaho Supreme Court opinion in the Walco appeal online (PDF format):


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