HOUSTON – A settlement has been reached in Chevron USA Inc.’s lawsuit against Ronald Guajardo in which the company had alleged the contractor stole proprietary information.
In an order signed Oct. 24 by U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal, the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas dismissed the case, noting that the parties had reached an amicable settlement.
“This case is dismissed on the merits, without prejudice to the right of counsel to move for reinstatement within 60 days on presentation of adequate proof that the settlement could not be consummated,” Rosenthal wrote in the order. “All motions currently pending are denied without prejudice."
In a filing earlier this year seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injection, Chevron claimed that Guajardo stole highly sensitive documents from the company.
In its complaint, Chevron alleged that Guajardo was upset because the company would not hire him for full-time employment and the oil giant maintained he took the information, which was a breach of his contract and a violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act and the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act.
Chevron said in its complaint that it had provided Guajardo with a laptop computer that he could use at the company’s Houston office or at home.
On April 18, Chevron terminated its contract with Guajardo after he allegedly shared confidential information with a third party without authorization.
After releasing Guajardo, the company began investigating his computer activity and found that more than 8,000 files were downloaded to two separate external storage devices. The documents allegedly included confidential information and trade secrets.
According to court documents, Guajardo emailed to himself or took via thumb drive a schematic of all gas and natural gas liquids agreements Chevron has.
The company also claimed that Guajardo’s work performance changed after he downloaded the documents.
According to an earlier court filing by Chevron, Guajardo was retained by the company to use his natural gas liquid (NGL) and gas processing expertise to “assist on various commercial project teams.”