PGW Sues Former Plant Engineer Alleging “Misappropriation of Trade Secrets”

Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW) has filed a complaint against former employee David Adams for misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, conversion, breach of fiduciary duties, and tortious interference with contractual and business relations. On February 4, 2015, Adams resigned from his position as a senior process engineer at PGW’s Evansville, Ind., plant and joined Fuyao Glass Industry Group Co. Ltd. (FYG) in violation of a non-compete contract he had signed with PGW, attorneys for automotive glass company allege.

“Under his employee agreement with PGW, Adams agreed, among other things, that for two years after his employment with PGW ended, he would not ‘ … engage in any activities for or with or provide any services directly or indirectly to a competitor located in the United States, except that [Adams] may accept employment with a competitor whose business is diversified (and which has separate and distinct divisions), provided [Adams’] activities are limited to that part of its business that is not a competitor,’” according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Evansville division.

“FYG is a ‘competitor’ as defined by Adams’ employee agreement. Adams’ employee agreement provides him with a ‘safety net’ if he demonstrates that he is unable to find employment with a non-competitor by stating that PGW will compensate Adams in an amount equal to, among other things, his average base monthly salary for up to 23 months. In violation of his restrictions, Adams has accepted employment with a competitor in a position that does not fall within the above-stated exception and began working. Adams has been on leave from FYG since February 20, 2015, but is now threatening to re-commence, or has already re-commenced, that employment,” according to attorneys for PGW.

The attorneys allege Adams took PGW documents with him when he left the company.

Among other allegations, they contend, “Shortly before and after Adams accepted FYG’s employment offer, but before he notified PGW, Adams attached several USB devices to two of his PGW-issued laptops and accessed a wealth of documents containing highly confidential and proprietary information regarding PGW’s business. Despite repeatedly denying that he possessed any PGW trade secrets or other confidential information, Adams now admits that some of those devices contain PGW’s information, including one that contains a back-up of his PGW-issued computer. PGW’s counsel has requested that Adams turn over those devices but Adams has yet to produce them.”

Adams was responsible for supporting all development efforts for three lines at the company’s Evansville, Ind., plant.

PGW’s attorneys allege that Adams’ employment with FYG would cause the Pittsburgh-headquartered company “irreparable harm.”

“PGW will suffer serious irreparable harm if Adams is permitted to work for FYG over the next two years. Adams’ knowledge of PGW’s trade secrets and other confidential business operations will allow Adams to apply PGW’s developed technology for state-of-the-art products to FYG’s newly constructed operations, allowing PGW’s products to be copied quickly and at more efficient speeds and yields. This will put PGW at an economic disadvantage in a highly competitive, tight margin business,” according to PGW’s attorneys.

In a separate filing, PGW’s attorneys asked the court for an order granting a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against Adams.

Adams has not yet responded to the complaint at press time.

PGW has asked the court for a jury trial.

PGW and Adams’ attorneys are in “resolution discussions” and a progress hearing is set for April 27, 2015, according to court documents.

To view PGW’s complaint against Adams, click here.

To view PGW’s motion for a temporary restraining order, click here.

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1 Response to PGW Sues Former Plant Engineer Alleging “Misappropriation of Trade Secrets”

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