United States District Court, D. Nevada
before the court is plaintiff Atrient, Inc.'s
(“Atrient”) motion for preliminary injunction.
(ECF No. 9). Defendant Wendy Perez
(“Perez”) filed a response (ECF No. 14), to which
Atrient replied (ECF No. 15).
is a gaming information technology company. (ECF No. 9).
Atrient provides custom developed software solutions for
gaming operators and holds millions of dollars in business
contracts. (Id.). Atrient has a duty to protect
gaming, client, and patron information in accordance with
regulatory requirements as well as client contracts.
about October 20, 2016, Atrient hired Perez as a Senior
Account Executive. (Id.). Atrient alleges that
pursuant to Perez's offer letter, and as a condition of
her employment, she was to sign a separate at-will
employment, non-competition, confidential information and
invention assignment agreement (“NDA”) that
required non-disclosure of propriety information.
(Id.). While Perez began working at Atrient, she
never executed the separate NDA. (Id.).
few months of employment, Atrient alleges Perez's work
performance began to decline. (Id.). In May 2017,
Atrient informed Perez of her performance issues and designed
a performance improvement plan (“PIP”).
(Id.). Atrient alleges Perez refused to sign the PIP
and thereafter accused Atrient of harassment. (Id.).
Perez then filed a formal harassment complaint with the
Nevada Equal Rights Commission. (Id.). Perez
contends the PIP was presented to her as retaliation, only
after Atrient learned of her internal harassment complaints
against her supervisor. (ECF No. 14). Further, Perez contends
she refused to sign the PIP because she was performing her
job as expected. (Id.).
several efforts by Atrient, Perez continued to refuse to sign
the NDA. (ECF No. 9). On or about November 10, 2017, each
employee of Atrient with access to confidential and
proprietary information was required to sign a new NDA.
(Id.). At this time, Atrient alleges Perez was again
presented with the NDA, but refused to sign it.
(Id.). Perez contends Atrient's inability to
provide an executed NDA from when she was initially hired is
Atrient's fault. (ECF No. 14). Perez claims she
subsequently refused to sign an NDA because she felt Atrient
was pressuring her to do so in anticipation of her
about November 13, 2017, Perez searched for the Atrient
Internet Protocol address (“IP address”) while at
work, using a work computer. (ECF No. 9). Atrient alleges
that Perez conspired with unknown defendants who helped her
access the IP address. (Id.). Further, Atrient
claims Perez then provided the IP address and computer count
on the Atrient network to these unknown defendants.
(Id.). Atrient terminated Perez soon after learning
she had accessed the company's IP address.
address is assigned to a network or a computer and provides a
unique identification of each user of the internet.
(Id.). An IP address allows for access out to the
internet as well as access back to the computer or network.
(Id.). Atrient contends that Perez's search for
the IP address had no business purpose. (Id.).
Atrient further contends that it is well known that when a
party intends to do harm to the network of a business, the
way to access the network is through the business's IP
address. (Id.). Atrient thus concludes that
“Perez's conduct of searching for Atrient's IP
address and likely relating to John Doe is for nothing other
than an unlawful purpose.” (Id.).
admits to searching for the IP address, but contends it was
because she “was concerned that her privacy was being
invaded by her harasser who was seemingly monitoring her
movements, outside of the office environment, with some sort
of tracking device on her work phone because [her harasser]
would contact her and cryptically suggest knowing where she
was.” (ECF No. 14). She claims she googled “what
is my IP address” so as to compare what came up in her
search with the supposed suspicious activity on her phone and
computer. (Id.). Perez claims she “was unaware
of what the [IP address] was and how it could be used.”
(Id.). She further denies she conducted the search
in furtherance of causing harm to Atrient or conspired with
anyone to do so. (Id.).
alleges that Atrient could easily prevent any potential harm
by having its IT department change the IP address.
(Id.). Accordingly, a preliminary injunction is not
instant motion, Atrient requests that the court grant a
preliminary injunction because “Perez is in possession
of confidential and sensitive Atrient information . . .
.” and “should immediately be restrained from
conduct that not only threatens Atrient, but Atrient's
duties and obligations to its clients.” (ECF No. 9).
Perez alleges that Atrient has failed to satisfy the
irreparable harm and success on the merits elements required
in order to issue a preliminary injunction. (ECF No. 14).
Rule of Civil Procedure 65 provides that the court may issue
a preliminary injunction on notice to the adverse party.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(a)(1). A preliminary injunction seeks to
preserve the status quo and prevent irreparable harm from
occurring before a judgment is issued. Textile Unlimited
Inc. v. BMH & Co., 240 F.3d 781, 786 (9th Cir.
Supreme Court has stated that courts must consider the
following elements in determining whether to issue a
preliminary injunction: (1) likelihood of success on the
merits; (2) likelihood of irreparable injury if preliminary
relief is not granted; (3) balance of hardships; and (4)
advancement of the public interest. Winter v.
N.R.D.C., 555 U.S. 7, 20 ...