By Bill Wright
We’re still waiting to see what legal remedies an employee might have when the employer appropriates a personal LinkedIn account. Eagle v. Morgan goes to trial in two weeks.
Edcomm discharged Linda Eagle, its founder and CEO. Edcomm’s new interim CEO took over Eagle’s LinkedIn account and substituted the new CEO’s name, picture and information. Eagle did not recover the account for some weeks. (The court variously states 22 weeks or 2 weeks.)
The federal court hearing Eagle’s claims dismissed her claim under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act; Eagle had alleged lost business opportunities from contacts she would have made through the account, but there was no evidence of lost opportunities and lost opportunities are not recoverable under the statute. The court also dismissed Eagle’s claim under the Lanham Act; there was no evidence that anyone was confused by checking Eagle’s LinkedIn account and finding the name and picture of the new CEO. Everyone could tell it wasn’t Eagle and contacted Eagle some other way. The Court did not dismiss Eagle’s claims for invasion of privacy, misappropriation of publicity, identity theft, conversion, and interference with contract. Watch for the outcome at trial and, meanwhile, don’t use someone else’s LinkedIn account. Eagle v. Morgan et al., Civil Action No. 11-4303 (E.D.Pa. Oct. 4, 2012).