Company sues its former VP for allegedly stealing trade secret information

By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau | Oct 5, 2010

SHERMAN-In an attempt to regain computer files and data, Danaher Corp. has filed a lawsuit against its former executives for his alleged misappropriation of trade secret information and for violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Danaher Corp. filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Joseph Rodriguez on Sept. 22 in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

Joseph Rodriguez was hired by the plaintiff in June 2007 as vice president of talent acquisition. In connection with his employment, Rodriguez entered into a non-competition agreement which contained nondisclosure provisions.

Danaher claims Rodriquez copied confidential reports, talent reviews and organization plans. One of the files Rodriguez allegedly reviewed was his own talent review document, which indicated Danaher intended to terminate his employment as soon as was practical.

Shortly thereafter, a forensic investigation revealed that Rodriguez began accessing and downloading large quantities of files to various electronic media storage devices, the suit states.

On Aug. 17, Rodriguez was told he was being terminated effective Sept. 27 and Danaher took possession of his company computer. Danaher did a forensic analysis of Rodriguez's computer and discovered that shortly before he was told of his termination, Rodriguez installed data-wiping software and deleted more than 15,000 files.

Danaher is asking the court to issue a preliminary injunction enjoining Rodriguez from using or disclosing the company's confidential and trade secret information. It is also seeking the return of any information in Rodriguez's possession and for a forensic analysis of each device Rodriguez owns to determine how he was disseminated any of Danaher's electronic information.

The company accuses Rodriguez of breach of contract, threatened and actual misappropriation of confidential and trade secret information, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty and violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

In addition to an injunction, Danaher Corp. is seeking damages for lost profits, punitive damages, attorneys' fees and court costs and pre-judgment interest.

The corporation is represented by Bobby G. Pryor and Dana G. Bruce of Pryor & Bruce in Rockwall and Michael D. Wexler in Chicago.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Schell is assigned to the case.

Case No. 4:10cv00500

UPDATE: The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice on Feb. 7, 2011.

"Plaintiff Danaher Corporation and Defendant Joseph Rodriguez stipulate that, pursuant to
a settlement agreement, all claims asserted by either party are dismissed with prejudice and that each party shall bear its own costs of court and attorneys' fees. Further, the Court shall retain jurisdiction over this matter and the parties to enforce the terms of the settlement agreement," a stipulation of dismissal document states.

Rodriguez was represented by attorneys from Clouse Dunn Khoshbin LLP in Dallas.

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