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Pure Power Boot Camp, Inc. v. Warrior Fitness Boot Camp, LLC - 759 F. Supp. 2d 417 (S.D.N.Y. 2010)

Rule:

The Stored Communications Act provides punishment for anyone who intentionally accesses without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided and thereby obtains access to a wire or electronic communication while it is in electronic storage. 18 U.S.C.S. § 2701(a). Clearly, each accessed e-mail cannot constitute a separate violation of the Act, as the SCA specifically targets the unauthorized access of an electronic communication facility. The access of the stored communication is a necessary element of the violation, not an independent violation unto itself.

Facts:

In 2004, Lauren Brenner hired Ruben Belliard, and, in 2005, she hired Alex Fell, two former United States Marines, to work as "drill instructors" at Pure Power Boot Camp ("PPBC"), a physical fitness center owned by Brenner and designed to replicate as closely as possible the experience of training at a military boot camp. In late 2007, some eight months before Fell was fired and Belliard quit his job at PPBC, Defendants began making plans to open a competing fitness center. Shortly after leaving PPBC, Belliard and Fell, together with their girlfriends (and co-Defendants) Jennifer Lee and Nancy Baynard , opened a competing fitness center, Warrior Fitness Boot Camp ("WFBC"). After Fell and Belliard were no longer working at PPBC, WFBC allege that PPBC, on April 28, 2008, and for around one week thereafter, accessed and printed e-mails from Fell's Hotmail, Gmail, and WFBC accounts.

Issue:

Was Brenner, being the owner of PPBC, liable on the basis of the substantive Stored Communications Act claims presently before the court?

Answer:

No

Conclusion:

To the extent that the court found in a preclusion decision that the corporation's owner personally violated the SCA, it did not do so on the basis of the substantive SCA claims presently before the court. Thus, that finding was not case-dispositive with respect to the owner's SCA liability.

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