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Tech Bankruptcy
February 03, 2008
  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.

A blog discussing the impact of technology on bankruptcy law and practice.

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Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Warren E. Agin is a partner in Swiggart & Agin, LLC, a boutique law firm in Boston, Massachusetts focusing on the needs of technology companies. Mr. Agin heads its bankruptcy department. The author of the book Bankruptcy and Secured Lending in Cyberspace (3rd Ed. West 2005), Mr. Agin also chaired the ABA's E-commerce and Insolvency Subcommittee from 1999 to 2005, co-chaired the Boston Bar Association's Internet and Computer Law Committee (2003-2005), and served on the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Technology and Information Services (2008-2011). Mr. Agin currently co-chairs the Editorial Board of Business Law Today. A contributing editor to Norton Bankruptcy Law and Practice, 3d, and co-author of its chapter on intellectual property for the past fifteen years, he is author of numerous legal articles and addresses on topics of technology, internet and bankruptcy law.

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