Natural Products Seller Alleges Trade Secrets Theft

On Wednesday a case was filed in the Eastern District of New York by Piping Rock Health Products against Gerardo Cortes. The case was regarding theft of trade secrets and client lists by a former employee.

The plaintiff, according to the complaint, is a retailer of natural products including vitamins, supplements, exotic herbs and holistic oils. The plaintiff hired the defendant as an email marketing manager, who work included email content, analysis of marketing campaign effectiveness and managing the company’s customer relationships.

As a part of this work, the defendant allegedly had access to the plaintiffs confidential materials including the customer list. As a part of the employment, the defendant was subject to and acknowledged the company policies and procedures, including the associate handbook and the employee confidentiality agreement. These documents included clauses prohibiting the dissemination of the client list as well as a requirement that the employee not use the computer resources of the plaintiff outside of the work obligations. The defendant resigned and after the resignation, the plaintiff discovered that the defendant had transferred the confidential materials to himself.

The plaintiff is suing for theft of trade secrets, violation of the computer fraud and abuse act, unfair competition, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment. The plaintiff is represented by Jaspan Schlesinger LLP.