Intel Corp. v. Hamidi, 30 Cal.4th 1342, 1 Cal.Rptr.3d 32, 71 P.3d 296 (2003) (full-text).
Factual Background Edit
Kourosh Hamidi was fired from Intel in 1995, allegedly for cause. Hamidi sent six emails to a list of Intel employees over a period of 21-months protesting his firing and what he considered to be Intel’s abusive workplace practices. He suggested that workers seek jobs elsewhere. He removed any worker that did not want to receive his message from the email list.
Intel sued Hamidi, claiming that his use of the Intel email system to send those messages to thousands of Intel employees was a “trespass to chattels.” Despite the fact that Intel was unable to prove any damage to its computers as a result of the email, a California appellate court upheld Intel’s trespass claim and barred Hamidi from communicating with any employees through Intel’s email system.
California Supreme Court Proceedings Edit
The California Supreme Court reversed, holding that a trespass to chattels claim required a showing of at least some damages.