Employees’ Access to Files Thwarts Claim Under Anti-Hacking Law

Written September 11, 2020

The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on September 9, 2020, held that two former Royal Truck & Trailer Sales & Service Inc. employees didn’t violate the anti-hacking Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by forwarding and misusing confidential company information because they had permission to access it. Royal Truck & Trailer Sales & Serv. Inc. v. Kraft, 6th Cir., No. 19-1235, 9/9/20.

After Mike Kraft and Kelly Matthews abruptly resigned from Royal to join a competitor, Royal discovered that they had forwarded confidential information to their personal email accounts and reset their work devices so their data wouldn’t be recoverable.

A Michigan federal court dismissed Royal’s CFAA claims, finding Kraft and Matthews were authorized to access the information on the company devices, and therefore didn’t “exceed” their “authorized access” under the law.

The Sixth Circuit affirmed the ruling.