Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Charity Sues Charity for Theft of Donor Database

A Texas-based charity, American Syringomyelia Alliance Project (ASAP), is suing two former employees and a former board member alleging theft and conversion of trade secrets for taking a copy of ASAP's database of donors. The former employees recently started a new nonprofit, Chiari and Syringomyelia Foundation, sharing the same mission as ASAP.

ASAP argues it has specific and explicit evidence that the foundation obtained possession of its property violating the Texas Theft Liability Act. ASAP is seeking an injunction ordering the foundation to return all of the proprietary and trade secret documents and information and that the foundation cease from contacting donors listed in the database.

ASAP claims the database was a closely guarded asset and is proprietary in nature. The password protected database contains donors' private personal information that is highly confidential and "invaluable for fundraising and communication to interested parties," the suit states. ASAP maintains there is no adequate remedy at law due to the nature of donation solicitations and the difficulty of connecting donations and of quantifying any change in donations.

ASAP argues it has specific and explicit evidence that the foundation obtained possession of its property violating the Texas Theft Liability Act. ASAP is seeking an injunction ordering the foundation to return all of the proprietary and trade secret documents and information and that the foundation cease from contacting donors listed in the database.

Starting 20 years ago as a grass-roots organization, ASAP helps people suffering from syringomyelia and Chiari malformations, which are conditions that affect the lower brain and spinal cord.

ASAP's website: http://www.asap.org/
Chiari and Syringomyelia Foundation's website: http://www.csfinfo.org/index.php

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