More on Thyroff
Citing to the Thyroff
decision, a Massachusetts Superior Court recently held that computer files can be "converted" under Massachusetts' state law. In Network Systems Architects Corp. v. Dimitruk,
2007 WL 4442349 (Mass. Super.), the plaintiff sued a former employee for trade secret violations and conversion, among other claims. The plaintiff claimed the employee had copied confidential computer information onto his laptop and onto computer disks. The information included customer contacts, supplier pricing and business plans.
The plaintiff claimed the computer data was converted. In response, Dimitruk argued that the information was not personal property subject to conversion. In its responsive papers, the plaintiff then drew a difference between information, and computer files containing information. The Court agreed that the distinction made a difference."If paper documents can be converted, as they no doubt can...., no reason appears that computer files cannot."
On this note, the Court denied Dimitruk's motion for summary judgment. The Court understood the concept that a computer file, like a paper document, is information placed in a tangible form and, in some circumstances, subject to similar legal treatment.