228 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2000), 00-1039, US v. Martin

Docket Nº:00-1039.
Citation:228 F.3d 1
Party Name:UNITED STATES, Appellee, v. STEPHEN R. MARTIN, Defendant, Appellant.
Case Date:September 28, 2000
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

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228 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2000)



STEPHEN R. MARTIN, Defendant, Appellant.

No. 00-1039.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

September 28, 2000

Heard Aug. 3, 2000.


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William Gray Schaffer, by appointment of the Court, with whomCurtis Thaxter Stevens Broder & Micoleau was on brief, for appellant.

F. Mark Terison, Senior Litigation Counsel, with whom Jay P. McCloskey, United States Attorney, was on brief, for appellee.

Before Torruella, Chief Judge, Selya, Circuit Judge, and Casellas, [*] District Judge.

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TORRUELLA, Chief Judge.

On September 16, 1998, a grand jury returned a indictment charging Dr. Stephen R. Martin and CarynaL. Camp with ten counts of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to steal trade secrets, one count of conspiracy to transport stolen goods, and one count of interstate transportation of stolen goods. Camp agreed to testify against Martin as part of a plea agreement. Martin proceeded to trial, where a jury found him not guilty on six counts of wire fraud (counts 1-6) and of interstate transportation of stolen goods (count 15). The jury found Martin guilty on the remaining counts of wire fraud (counts 7-10), mail fraud (counts 11-12), conspiracy to steal trade secrets (count 13), and conspiracy to transport stolen property in interstate commerce (count 14). This appeal, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence for conviction, followed.

For the reasons stated below, we affirm.


This case arises out of an electronic mail "pen-pal" relationship between a dissatisfied Maine chemist, Caryn Camp, and a California scientist, Dr. Stephen Martin.

I. Events Prior to May 1, 1998

A. Camp's Employment at IDEXX

Camp first began work at IDEXX, Inc. ("IDEXX"), a manufacturer of veterinary products headquartered in Portland, Maine, in May of 1995. Camp's responsibilities as an IDEXX chemist included mixing chemicals for diagnostic test kits for both pets and livestock. At the time of her employment, she signed non-disclosure and non-competition agreements, promising in part not to "disclose to others, or use for [her] own benefit or the benefit of others, any of the Developments or any confidential, proprietary or secret information owned, possessed or used by [IDEXX] or its customers or contractors." The proprietary information included, but was not limited to, "trade secrets, processes, data, know-how, marketing plans, forecasts, unpublished financial statements, budgets, licenses, prices, costs, and employee, customer and supplier lists." Camp also signed the IDEXX policy on ethics and business conduct, which prohibited employees from revealing "proprietary knowledge or data" without prior authorization.

B. Martin's Communication with IDEXX

In May 1997, Martin, as CEO of Wyoming DNA Vaccine ("WDV"), contacted IDEXX with a proposal involving research into human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Although IDEXX ultimately rejected Martin's proposal, he signed a confidentiality agreement during his conversations with IDEXX.

C. Camp's Initial Contact with Martin

By early 1998, Camp was dissatisfied and bored with her job. In January 1998, she began researching other potential job opportunities. She found the Internet web site for WDV and sent an electronic mail message with an attached resume. Martin responded immediately via electronic mail, praising Camp's credentials and touting the beauty of Cody, Wyoming (the future site of WDV). Martin also noted the existence of the WDV-IDEXX confidentiality agreement and the fact that WDV had chosen to "develop [its] own program . . . with respect to veterinary diagnostics." After receiving Martin's response, Camp sent Martin a letter providing more detail about her qualifications.

Between January and March of 1998, Martin and Camp continued their correspondence. Based partly on Martin's encouragement and partly on her own interests, Camp contacted the Director of Regulatory Affairs at IDEXX and obtained permission to "volunteer [her] free time" to learn that end of the business.

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Martin indicated that despite Camp's preference for laboratory work, she would be more useful to WDV for her regulatory experience and knowledge. Martin briefed Camp on his own work at WDV, while Camp continued to update Martin on her professional success, in particular her promotion to a technical position in IDEXX's Livestock/Poultry unit.

Camp and Martin's early correspondence established several themes that would permeate their e-mails: contained within the small talk was on-going discussion of Camp's future employment with Martin's company, as well as a willingness by Camp to relay IDEXX information and gossip to Martin. Camp described her promotion as preparation "for making a strong contribution to the success of WDV" within four to six months. Her February 27 letter contained information regarding a manual that "Idexx . . . [is] not exactly supposed to have." And throughout this period, Camp's correspondence included light-hearted remarks about the weather, life in Maine, and a potential future in Wyoming.

D. "Pen-Pals"

Camp and Martin's correspondence became more and more frequent during March and April of 1998. Camp continued to apprise Martin of her problems with IDEXX management, the changes associated with her new position in technical support, and her interest in new employment, both at WDV and elsewhere. At times she included information about IDEXX's internal strategic weaknesses and customer complaints. Camp noted in an April 12 e-mail that the information she had transmitted was to some extent confidential. Martin reciprocated the information exchange: he told Camp about conflicts within WDV that ultimately resulted in his formation of a separate company called "Maverck"; he also relayed "confidential" WDV information. Martin continued to discuss Camp's future, noting that she could "have a job with either [WDV or Maverck]," that he thought she "belong[ed] in Tahoe/Reno," and that she might "become CEO [her]self one day."

As the two corresponded more frequently, their communications became more personal. Camp began to refer to Martin as "Steve." They discussed their families and social lives, and even shared the messages with family members. As their relationship grew more personal, both Camp and Martin, but particularly Martin, spoke jokingly of the "spy" aspect of the correspondence. For example, Martin referred to Camp's gossip as "IDEXX Files" and described the events at WDV as a "palace coup." Martin also continued to praise Camp's "aggressiveness" and exhorted her to work only in her own interest and to continue to accumulate relevant knowledge.

On April 14, Martin indicated that he "had much to tell"Camp, but that he wanted her to sign a confidentiality agreement first. Camp considered signing the agreement immediately, but ultimately postponed signing because of potential ethical concerns, including potential competition between WDV and IDEXX. 1

On April 22, Camp sent Martin an e-mail discussing the poultry and livestock industries, noting problems IDEXX customers had been having with particular diagnostic kits, and mentioning that customers "loved" the IDEXX free software program "x-Chek." Camp continued to discuss IDEXX's poor customer service approach in her May 1 "travelogue," written during a business trip to the Midwest. Throughout her "travelogue," Camp repeatedly expressed her happiness in being away from IDEXX and her willingness to move on to new employment.

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II. Events Between May 1, 1998 and July 18, 1998

The government's first six counts of wire fraud, on which Martin was acquitted, stem from correspondence occurring prior to July 18, 1998. One count of mail fraud, on which Martin was convicted, also stems from this period.

A. Martin's Initial Requests

On May 1, in response to Camp's lengthy e-mail detailing her trip, Martin made his first explicit request for information, asking for "any info. . . . on the HOT topics in veterinary diagnostics." Martin renewed his request in a May 3 e-mail in which he asked a number of questions about IDEXX prices, test composition, and test use. In a subsequent message, Martin outlined his ability to avoid patent infringement with IDEXX and noted that "IDEXX is going to be in trouble very soon." On May 3, Camp responded with answers to most of Martin's questions. Attached was a letter detailing problems with a particular IDEXX product. In reference to a previous discussion about flying planes, Martin began to refer to Camp as "Ace," a moniker which would become "Agent Ace" as their "spy" business heated up.

B. Camp's Responses

On May 4, Camp wrote concerning IDEXX's legal problems. She also included "lots & lots of goodies for your next rainy day," including internal memoranda. Camp noted that the internal memoranda may have been confidential. "I feel like a spy," she commented. In a letter the next day, Camp regretted her actions, promising to "be good . . . and send no more dirty secrets from Idexx. . . ." Martin responded, claiming that he did "not want to know anything confidential about IDEXX," and asking only for "public information."

Despite Camp's repentance and Martin's denial of any desire for confidential or proprietary information, Camp continued to assemble and pass on information, an activity which she apparently viewed as ethically suspect. 2...

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