Non-Compliance with Employment Agreement Causes Competitor to Shoulder Costs
2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22105 (N.D. Ill. 2009)
During an employment dispute in which an employer alleged a breach of a confidentiality agreement, the Northern District of Illinois found the defendant’s forensic analysis insufficient for its failure to report a list of responsive files.
After the employee resigned from the plaintiff corporation and joined a competitor company, the plaintiff filed suit for breach of an employment agreement, under which the employee was prohibited from soliciting or servicing the plaintiff’s customers or sharing confidential information with new employers. The employee claimed he had complied with the agreement and had maintained a record of all communications with the plaintiff’s customers, whom he referred to other associates at the competitor company.
The court ordered limited discovery to determine if the employee and competitor had complied with the employment agreement. The competitor hired forensic investigators to create a forensic image of the employee’s computer, which was then supplied to the plaintiff. In this forensic image, the plaintiff found seven emails containing its confidential information.
The forensic investigators then conducted a search of the competitor’s email server and a limited number of office computers, using 26 keywords from the emails discovered on the employee’s computer. The competitor asserted that the forensic investigators permanently deleted all 813 responsive documents discovered in its search.
The court found the competitor’s assertion insufficient evidence to show compliance with the employment agreement. Because the list of 26 keywords was developed only by the competitor company and was not comprehensive, the court was not confident that the forensic analysis had recovered all responsive files. In addition, the forensics investigators should have provided a report of all responsive files, their locations, and whether they had been deleted. The court ordered a Special Master to oversee compliance with the agreement and ordered the competitor to pay all associated costs and attorneys’ fees.
- Staff Recognized for Departing Employee Investigations - The first issue of Corporate Counsel Business Journal, CCBJ, includes an interview with our Director of Digital Forensics, Yaniv Schiff, and Solutions Architect, Curtis Collette, on the evolution of departing employee investigations. Departing Employee: When Do Investigations Become Necessary? appeared in the print publication, online edition, and on CCBJ’s In-House Tech website. For Increasing Numbers of Employers, Departing Employee Investigations[...Read More]
- Chicago Office Food Drive – The Results Are In - QDiscovery’s Chicago Office collected nearly 1,000 containers of food for the local food bank this Holiday Season! Our office competed with sister offices in Indiana and Connecticut. Alas, we came in third. Our sister offices each collected nearly 2,000 containers for their local food banks. Relatively new to the company-wide food drive, the Forensics Division[...Read More]
- QDiscovery Forensics Team Develops Award Winning App! - QDiscovery is winner of a 2017 Relativity Innovation Award. Presented at Relativity Fest, the award celebrates organizations that create apps or integrations that extend the functionality of Relativity’s eDiscovery software. Our development team created an application that makes the analysis of mobile collections much more manageable. Relativity users can now produce and review mobile device data[...Read More]
- Moving and Changing - Acquired by Connecticut-based QDiscovery in 2016, Forensicon’s capabilities multiplied overnight, both in forensics brain power and eDiscovery expertise. As part of a leading provider of end to end litigation support, moving to larger offices that are more central to the Chicago legal community was inevitable.
- QDiscovery Named One of the Top 20 Providers of Legal Services! - Leading industry publication, CIO Magazine, has named Forensicon’s parent company, QDiscovery, to it’s Top 20 Providers of Legal Services. The annual listing includes 20 companies that are at the forefront of providing legal solutions and impacting the marketplace. Read the whole article here. Featured in the publication alongside QDiscovery President, Dave Barrett, is Director of Digital Forensics, Yaniv[...Read More]