Private Fund Founder Challenges Firm’s Post‑Employment Access to His Home Computer

In an action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Court) arising out of a messy private fund divorce, Paul Iacovacci alleged that his former firm, Brevet Capital, wrongfully accessed his home computer after terminating his employment, thereby violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), the Stored Communications Act (SCA) and the Wiretap Act and committing common law property torts. In response, Brevet Capital entities and principals asserted that Iacovacci had breached a covenant not to compete and other employment-related duties; misappropriated trade secrets; and violated the CFAA, the SCA and the Defend Trade Secrets Act. Following cross-motions for summary judgment, the Court dismissed most of Iacovacci’s claims and certain firm counterclaims, as well as its novel defense that it required access to Iacovacci’s computer to comply with its regulatory obligations. This article discusses the Court’s decision, with commentary from Akin Gump partners Peter I. Altman, Natasha G. Kohne and Richard J. Rabin. See “Recent Developments and Trends in Employment Law Relevant to Fund Managers” (Jul. 26, 2018); and “Best Practices for Fund Managers to Mitigate Litigation and Regulatory Risk Before Terminating Employees” (Feb. 9, 2017).

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