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BlueJayBook: Office Memo Aids

This Guide presents Bluebook exercises and instructions that are used in Creighton Law School Legal Research & Writing classes.

Sample Citation Memo

The owner of a trade secret must make an effort that is reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 35-51(4)(b) (West 2000). The actions taken must be reasonable but not overly extravagant. Elm City Cheese Co. v. Federico, 251 Conn. 59, 61, 752 A.2d 1037, 1039 (1999). Absolute secrecy is not required. Id. However, some affirmative steps must be shown. Sun Dial Corp. v. Rideout, 16 Conn. 252, 254, 108 A.2d 442, 445 (1954).

The court in Elm City found the company’s efforts to maintain the secrecy of their business practices was reasonable because their efforts kept integral information about the process away from employees and the public. 251 Conn. at 62, 752 A.2d at 1039.  Several examples of acceptable techniques to maintain secrecy were articulated: confidentiality agreements, warning or cautionary signs, legends on documents, taking precautions regarding visitors, segregating information and using unnamed or coded ingredients. Id. at 64, 752 A.2d at 1041. The court held that Elm City’s practice of keeping all sensitive financial information confidential by locking records in a locked safe in a locked office to be a reasonable effort under the circumstances to maintain secrecy. Id.

In contrast, the court found that no trade secret existed because the measures taken to maintain secrecy were ineffectual. Sun Dial, 16 Conn. at 251, 108 A.2d at 443. The plaintiff’s engineering drawings were routinely loaned to customers and sales representatives. Sometimes the drawings included a stamp with the language:  “This drawing is the property of the Company and is subject to return upon request. It is to be used only for the purpose for which it was expressly loaned and is not to be used in any way detrimental to the interest of this Company.” Id. at 252, 108 A.2d at 444. However, the stamp was not always used and there was no policy that the stamp was required on every drawing. Id. The court concluded that the mere “existence and occasional use of the stamp, without more, does not constitute reasonable efforts to protect the confidentiality of the engineering drawings.” Id. at 253, 108 A.2d at 444.

The holdings in Elm City and Sun Dial not only require that affirmative steps be taken to maintain secrecy, but suggest that the methods employed must be consistently applied. This principle is reinforced in Uncle B’s Bakery v. O’Rourke, 224 Conn. App. 873, 482 A.2d 498 (1987). In this case, the company required all visitors to the plant, including prospective employees, to sign a confidentiality agreement. Id. at 874, 482 A.2d at 499. The court held that this practice was a “reasonable effort under the circumstances to maintain the secrecy of its recipes, manufacturing, and packaging process.” Id.

The size of the business and the relationship the business has with its employees may have an impact on what constitutes efforts reasonable “under the circumstances.” § 35-51(4)(b). While no Connecticut court has considered the small business scenario, the court in Northern Electric Co. v. Torma, 819 N.E.2d 417, 419 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004) held that the expectation that information be kept secret by long-term employees of a small business is sufficient under the circumstances. Although the company in this case used a coded security entrance system, almost all employees knew the code, or had a key. Id. at 417. The court emphasized that absolute secrecy was not required, only that efforts must be “reasonable under the circumstances.” Id. at 419. The court concluded that “it is apparent that Northern Electric prides itself on being a small family-owned business….It can be reasonably inferred that because of its small size and long-term employment relationships, Northern Electric trusted its employees to keep its data compilation confidential.” Id.

Citation Cases Exercise

Answers to the following questions are based on the following cases and are included in the box immediately following this one:

Baker v. City of Seattle, 79 Wash. 2d 198, 484 P.2d 405 (1971).

Chauvlier v. Booth Creek Ski Holdings, 109 Wash. App. 334, 35 P.3d 383 (2001).

Johnson v. Ubar, LLC, 150 Wash. App. 533, 210 P.3d 1021 (2009).

_________________________________________

1. You have not yet cited the Baker case and you want to cite to page 200 in the Washington Reports and page 407 in the Pacific Second Reporter.

2. You have not yet cited the Chauvlier case and you want to cite to page 334 in the Washington Appellate Reports and page 383 in the Pacific Third Reporter.

3. You have already fully cited the Johnson case and, without a different intervening case, you want to cite to the exact pages in the previous citation.

4. You have already fully cited the Baker case, have cited other cases, and now want to cite the Baker case again, specifically page 201 of the Washington Reports and page 408 of the Pacific Second Reporter. This citation follows a sentence in the text that begins, “The Washington Supreme Court decided that….”

5. Assume that everything is the same as in number 4 above except that the citation follows the following textual sentence: “The Washington Supreme Court in Baker decided that….”

6. Assume that the preceding citation is the one given to answer number 5 above and you want to cite to the Baker case again, specifically page 202 of the Washington Reports and page 409 of the Pacific Second Reporter.

7. In your discussion you short cite the Johnson case, pages 537-38 in the Washington Appellate Reports and page 1023 of the Pacific Third Reporter where they state that the function of a waiver provision is “to deny an injured party the right to recover damages from the person negligently causing the injury.” In this statement the quotation is from Scott v. Pac. West Mountain Resort, 119 Wash.2d 484, 491, 834 P.2d 6 (1992). Give the correct citation for when a case is quoting from another case following Rule 10.6.2 (p. 100) in the Bluebook.

8. You have not yet fully cited the Chauvlier case and you want to cite to the case but not to any particular pages in the case.

9. You have not yet fully cited the Baker case but have fully cited the Johnson case. Now you want to make a statement and then cite both of those cases. The Baker citation is to page 199 in the Washington Reports and page 406 in the Pacific Second Reporter. The Johnson citation is to page 535 in the Washington Appellate Reports and page 1022 in the Pacific Third Reporter.

10. Match the following:

A. Full citation.           (1) 109 Wash. App. at 336, 35 P.3d at 385.
B. Full citation with pincites. (2) Id.
C. Short form, no intervening cases, page numbers are identical. (3) Johnson v. Ubar, LLC, 150 Wash. App. 533, 535, 210 P.3d 1021, 1023 (2009).
D. Short form, no intervening cases, page numbers have changed. (4) Baker, 79 Wash. 2d at 199, 484 P.2d at 406.
E. Short form, intervening cases, name of case used in the textual sentence. (5) Id. at 335, 35 P.3d at 384.
F. Short form, intervening cases, name of case not used in the textual sentence. (6) Baker v. City of Seattle, 79 Wash. 2d 198, 484 P.2d 405 (1971).

Citation Cases Exercise ANSWERS

1. Baker v. City of Seattle, 79 Wash. 2d 198, 200, 484 P.2d 405, 407 (1971).

Comment: you must give a full citation with pincites.

2. Chauvlier v. Booth Creek Ski Holdings, 109 Wash. App. 334, 334, 35 P.3d 383, 383 (2001).

Comment: if you are citing to a particular page in a full citation, you must give a pincite, even if the pincite is on the first page of the reporter being cited.

3. Id.

Comment: you use Id. when nothing has changed from the previous citation.

4. Baker, 79 Wash. 2d at 201, 484 P.2d at 408.

Comment: you cannot use Id. because there are intervening cases. You must use the name of the case, Baker, because the case name was not used in the textual sentence.

5. 79 Wash. 2d at 201, 484 P.2d at 408.

Comment: the name of the case, Baker, is used in the textual sentence so it is omitted in the citation sentence.

6. Id. at 202, 484 P.2d at 409.

Comment: since there is no intervening case, you must use a form of Id. for the first reporter but the second reporter is always given in its full short citation form.

7. Johnson, 150 Wash. App. at 537-38, 210 P.3d at 1023 (quoting Scott v. Pac. West Mountain Resort, 119 Wash.2d 484, 491, 834 P.2d 6 (1992)).

Comment: page ranges drop all but the last two digits. How to include quoting or citing references is found in the appropriate Bluebook templates. A good place to begin is with the words “quoting” or “citing” and then look them up in the Bluebook index.

8. Chauvlier v. Booth Creek Ski Holdings, 109 Wash. App. 334, 35 P.3d 383 (2001).

Comment: there are no pincites.

9. Baker v. City of Seattle, 79 Wash. 2d 198, 199, 484 P.2d 405, 406 (1971); Johnson, 150 Wash. App. at 535, 210 P.3d at 1022.

Comment: String cites are separated by a semi-colon. Full citation forms and short citation forms can both be used in a string cite.

10.

A: (6)

B: (3)

C: (2)

D: (5)

E: (1)

F: (4)

Comment: A-F include all of the basic long and short forms for a case.


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