Intel v. Hamidi

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

10/07/1998

Status: 

Concluded

Location: 

California

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)
Injunction Denied
Injunction Issued

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
In October 1998, Intel Corporation sued Ken Hamidi, a former employee, in California state court on claims of trepass to chattels and nuisance. The dispute arose when Hamidi created the Former and Current Employees of Intel ("FACE-Intel") website and began sending mass... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Kourosh Kenneth Hamidi; FACE-Intel

Type of Party: 

Large Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Location of Party: 

  • California
  • Delaware

Location of Party: 

  • California

Legal Counsel: 

Karl Olson, Erica Craven (Levy, Ram, Olson & Rossi); William McSwain, Richard Berkman, F. Gregory Lastowka (Dechert)
Description

In October 1998, Intel Corporation sued Ken Hamidi, a former employee, in California state court on claims of trepass to chattels and nuisance. The dispute arose when Hamidi created the Former and Current Employees of Intel ("FACE-Intel") website and began sending mass emails critical of Intel to its employees. Intel asked Hamidi to stop sending the emails and sued him when he refused.

The California trial court granted Intel a preliminary injunction prohibiting Hamidi from sending further emails to Intel employees. During the course of litigation, Intel dropped its nuisance claim and gave up its demand for money damages. It then moved for summary judgment on its trespass to chattels claim, and the trial court granted summary judgment to the company in June 1999. At this point, the court permanently enjoined Hamidi from sending email to Intel addresses.

Hamidi appealed the ruling, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU each submitted amici curiae briefs on his behalf. Nonetheless, in December 2001, the California Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's ruling.

In January 2002, Hamidi petitioned the California Supreme Court to review the case. In June 2003, the Supreme Court overturned the lower courts' rulings and dismissed the case against Hamidi. It ruled that Intel's trespass to chattels claim failed as a matter of law because Hamidi's emails did not damage or impair Intel's computers. The court indicated that, had the quantity of Hamidi's emails been high enough to damage Intel's systems, trespass to chattels might apply. In this case, however, "the claimed injury [was] located in the disruption or distraction caused to recipients by the contents of the e-mail messages, an injury entirely separate from, and not directly affecting, the possession or value of personal property." Intel Corp. v. Hamidi, 71 P.3d 296, 300-01 (Cal. 2003).

Details

Content Type: 

  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Email

Subject Area: 

  • SLAPP
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • California

Source of Law: 

  • California

Court Name: 

Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento; California Court of Appeals, 3rd Appellate District; Supreme Court of California

Court Type: 

State

Case Number: 

98AS05067 (trial), C033076 (appellate); S103781 (supreme)

Relevant Documents: