N.D. Ga.

Elevator Company Seeks to Take Down Former Employee for Alleged Trade Secrets Violation

TK Elevator Corporation v. Jackson, Civil Action No. 1:22-cv-04999-SCJ (N.D. Ga., Dec. 23, 2022)

Judge Steve Jones in the Northern District of Georgia has granted a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) against a former employee of TK Elevator Corporation (“TKE”) in a trade secrets case involving misappropriated compensation information.

The TRO stems from the injuries asserted in the December 19 Complaint filed by TKE (formally known as Thyssenkrupp Elevator Corporation). In the Complaint, TKE alleges a former employee breached the confidentiality of certain covenants, including a non-disclosure and non-solicitation agreement, and violated various trade secrets laws when she misappropriated “vast troves of TKE’s trade secrets and confidential information by compiling dozens of files and data from TKE’s internal network and computer systems” without authorization. Complaint, Civil Action No. 1:22-cv-04999-SCJ, at 1–2 (N.D. Ga. Dec. 19, 2022).

Moreover, TKE accuses the former employee of “maliciously disseminat[ing the]…information via strategically prepared mass email messages [sent] to hundreds of TKE employees” that contained the salary and compensation of thousands of employees. Id. at 2. According to the Complaint, the Defendant’s emails ranked the misappropriated information in order of total compensation. Id. at 16.

The Complaint contained multiple counts, including violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act, the Georgia Uniform Trade Secrets Act, and the Georgia Computer Systems Protection Act, as well as claims for breach of contract and conversion.

In response to the Plaintiff’s Emergency Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction, Judge Jones ordered the TRO against the Defendant “as necessary to maintain the status quo until the preliminary injunction hearing.” Order Granting Plaintiff’s Emergency Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction, Civil Action No. 1:22-cv-04999-SCJ, at 1 (N.D. Ga. Dec. 23, 2022). The Order enjoined the Defendant from disclosing or deleting the information, and ordered her to return the information and physical property, along with a list of all the information she may possess, to the Plaintiff by December 23, 2022, at 2:00P.M.

In fact, the Defendant failed to surrender the information and property by the deadline, so the Plaintiff filed a Motion for Contempt. On December 27, 2022, Judge Jones ordered the Defendant to appear and show cause for why she should not be held in contempt for failing to follow the Court’s TRO.

A hearing to determine both the Plaintiff’s motions for preliminary injunction and for contempt has been set for January 5, 2023.

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