Tumey v. Mycroft AI, Inc., No. 21-1975 (8th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Tumey filed suit alleging that Tumey's representation of Voice Tech Corporation in pending and separate patent infringement lawsuits against Mycroft prompted Mycroft to retaliate by launching and/or inspiring a series of cyber-attacks against Tumey. The complaint alleges violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Stored Wire and Electronic Communications Act, and various state and common law claims.
The Eighth Circuit applied the Dataphase factors and vacated the district court's grant of preliminary injunctive relief to Tumey, concluding that Tumey did not show a likelihood of success on the merits of its claims. In this case, even if there was no procedural due process issue, the district court committed a clear error of judgment when it issued a preliminary injunction based on a lack of evidence demonstrating Mycroft was responsible for the conduct at issue. Furthermore, even if Tumey came forward with sufficient evidence to connect Mycroft to the unlawful acts, Tumey has not convinced the court that money damages are insufficient to compensate him for the alleged injuries. The court found that this is a rare case in which the history, proceedings, and order reflect a sufficiently high degree of antagonism against Mycroft to warrant reassignment of the case on remand.
Court Description: [Erickson, Author, with Smith, Chief Judge, and Wollman, Circuit Judge] Civil case - Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. In this action, plaintiff alleged that he represented parties which had sued defendants for patent infringement and that defendant retaliated against him by launching cyber-attacks and hacking against him and his firm's computers; plaintiff motioned for the entry of a temporary restraining order barring defendants from engaging in cyber-attacks, hacking or harassment; shortly before the hearing on the motion, plaintiff sought a preliminary injunction on the same conduct; after conducting the hearing, the court issued a preliminary injunction barring the conduct; defendants appeal. Held: the district court erred in granting the injunction; the evidence at the hearing was simply insufficient to conclude defendants were responsible for the conduct at issue and, in the absence of such evidence, plaintiffs did not show a likelihood of success on the merits; as to the other Dataphase factors, they did not favor the issuance of a preliminary injunction as plaintiff failed to show that money damages would not compensate his injuries and there was no evidence that plaintiff would suffer irreparable harm. On remand, the case must be assigned to a different district court judge as the record shows a sufficiently high degree of antagonism to defendants to warrant reassignment. [ March 03, 2022 ]