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Court chastises Zillow exec for interfering with investigation

Judge objects to Curt Beardsley taking control of forensic process
  • A Washington state superior court judge has formally admonished Zillow exec Curt Beardsley for unilaterally interfering with a neutral forensic investigation of his iCloud account.
  • The neutral forensic investigation could ultimately bring clarity to a multimillion-dollar case between archrivals Zillow and Move Inc., who accuse each other of impeding their ability to compete for agent dollars and consumer mindshare.
  • The court's assessment of Beardsley's behavior could offer lessons to those in the industry that find themselves in a similar situation.

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Zillow executive Curt Beardsley has been reprimanded by a Washington state judge for interfering with a forensic investigation ordered as part of trade secret litigation between Zillow and News Corp.-owned Move Inc. The investigation will, in part, try to ferret out whether there is evidence to support allegations of evidence destruction and misappropriation of Move documents or data. The neutral forensic examination could potentially bring clarity to a bitterly-fought multimillion-dollar legal conflict in which the two archrivals accuse each other of misappropriating trade secrets and thereby damaging their ability to compete for agent dollars and consumer mindshare. Both sides have their own forensic experts, but the court ordered a probe by a neutral expert in the hopes of obtaining an "efficient and transparent" forensic analysis of the electronic devices and cloud accounts of Zillow employees Beardsley, Errol Samuelson and Will Hebard. Curt Beardsley The investigat...