Accurate Control Co. alleges former employees conspired to steal trade secrets for new employer

By John Severance | May 15, 2017

HOUSTON – Accurate Control Co., an electric parts company based in Houston, has filed for a temporary and permanent restraining order against three former employees in Harris County District Court.

The complaint was filed on March 31 and the company is seeking judgement against the defendants for actual damages, exemplary damages, interests, costs and attorney fees as well as the restraining orders.

Defendants in the case are Randolph Greiner, Santos Morato Jr., Greg Cranston and Spike Electric Controls, considered a competitor to Accurate Control.

According to the complaint, the crux of the case revolves around three ex-employees, "who have conspired to steal confidential information and trade secrets for their new employer Spike Electric," according to the suit.

The complaint says that an alleged theft includes a flash drive containing 2.4 gigabytes of confidential information and more than 100 pages of price lists and other proprietary data. The information was purportedly stolen by Greiner with the assistance of his supervisor Cranston on Greiner’s last day of employment.

The complaint says that all of the stolen information provided to Spike already has been used to complete against Accurate. The suit claims the defendants already have solicited business from Accurate’s customers and that the information obtained has caused irreparable injury to the company.

Greiner was formerly employed by Accurate Control as an inside sales representative and began work there in 2011 until his departure on March 21, according to the suit. At time of resignation, Greiner reported directly to Cranston, whose responsibilities included selling and marketing products and services as well as determining customer needs and identifying and selecting suitable products to meet those needs.

On March 19 of this year, Greiner allegedly contacted Glynn Ferrell, an outside sales employee at Accurate, to discuss his new position at Spike. During the call, Greiner allegedly tried to persuade Ferrell to leave Accurate for Spike, telling him about salary, commission plans and benefits.

The next day, the suit states Greiner reported to work with a backpack and he immediately began to gather various items including documents. He allegedly also had a zip drive, which he inserted into his computer. The complaint states Greiner made three trips to his vehicle with documents, and at 1:30, he left work, saying he had to pick up a sick child.

The complaint states Cranston was complicit in the theft.

On March 20, purchasing agent Mary Vasquez informed Cranston that Greiner was taking documents from his desk and had a zip driver in his computer, the suit states. Cranston allegedly took no action and made no attempt to stop Greiner. On March 21, Greiner notified Cranston his child was still sick and he would not be coming to work, the suit states.

Two hours later, the suit states Greiner was sitting at the Spike Electric premises and that afternoon Accurate sent Greiner a cease and desist letter, demanding he return all documents and his company cellphone.

On March 24, Spike Electric sent 123 pages of stolen documents to Accurate Control’s legal counsel as well as a zip drive containing company data, according to the suit.

During that time, according to the complaint, Cranston and Morato submitted their resignations and they were sent letters as well. The complaint states all three were contacting Accurate customers, trying to persuade them to buy Spike products.

The complaint said, "defendants are also accused of making disparaging remarks and false statements to many of Accurate Control customers."

In its complaint, Accurate Control alleges the following: breach of contract, violation of Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, tortious interference with plaintiff’s business relationships and agreements, application for temporary restraining order and temporary and permanent injunctive relief, request for permanent injunction.

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