Archer-Daniels-Midland Sues Ex-Employee for Trade Secrets Violations

On Thursday, Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (ADM) has filed suit against former ADM executive Christopher Osowski and ADM competitor Green Plains, Inc in the Central District of Illinois. The plaintiff claims that Osowski broke his noncompete contractual obligations with ADM.

“ADM is a global leader in agricultural origination and processing, commodity innovation, and human and animal nutrition,” according to the complaint.

The complaint states that “Osowski abruptly resigned from ADM on or about December 15, 2021, disclosing to leadership only that he was planning to “work for a competitor” and then carefully concealing his plans to accept an apparently identical senior executive role with Green Plains.”

The plaintiff claims that Osowski had been planning this with ADM’s competitor for several weeks and that ADM had only learned about his plans “only through Green Plain’s January 4, 2022 press release” announcing his appointment as the company’s Executive Vice President of Operations and Technology.

Other allegations made by the plaintiff stem from Osowski’s high-level position, which purportedly enabled him to receive confidential trade secrets from ADM that he used to obtain a similar position at Green Plains. 

The plaintiff also claims that that Osowski had used his position of power at ADM to avoid breaking his contract with the company. He allegedly “deleted all contents of his ADM-issued iPhone before returning it.” Yet information had surfaced that he had “e-mailed with Green Plains Chief People Officer Negil Mcpherson, Jr” on the same day he resigned, after having viewed Green Plains executives’ online profiles months before.

The plaintiff is ultimately claiming that “Osowski has threatened to misappropriate ADM’s trade secrets to compete unfairly with ADM on behalf of Green Plains, including proprietary information relating to the researching process and methodologies.”

The defendants are facing four counts; two breaches of contract (for breaching noncompete and nondisclosure agreements), intentional interference with contractual relations, and misappropriation of trade secrets. 

The plaintiff is being represented by Littler Mendelson, P.C.