Pharmaceutical Co. Sues Former Senior Employees Over Wrongful Possession of Trade Secrets

Olympia Pharmacy (OPS) sued their former employees, Confidence Ekeanyanwu and Kenechukwu Okoro, for injunctive relief and damages in the Middle District of Florida last Thursday. OPS is alleging that the defendants each violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Defend Trade Secrets Act, as well as engaged in breach of duty of loyalty, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud.

Plaintiff OPS is in the business of “providing pharmaceutical and related services to patients and physicians across the country.” Defendant Ekeanyanwu was hired by OPS in late 2014 to work as their Quality and Regulatory Manager, a job which consisted of quality assurance and overseeing the production of all of OPS’ products, the complaint said. In that role, Ekeanyanwu purportedly had access to nearly all of OPS’ valuable intel, including trade secrets and confidential business information. Defendant Okoro worked as the Supply Chain and Data Manager.

The complaint argued that both defendants formally acknowledged the terms of OPS’ employee handbook which emphasized that employees who disclose confidential information may be terminated, and that “employees did not have any expectation of privacy if they stored personal information on their OPS equipment.” Due to the defendant’s senior management positions with OPS, the plaintiff said they had significant trust in them, giving them unbridled access to confidential information.

OPS became aware in the middle of 2021 that both defendants were “fraudulently invoicing OPS for supplies and then paying the fraudulent invoices with OPS’ funds.” The scheme was carried out using a shell company called Uttermedsales, LLC, the complaint. Unauthorized payments were consistently made by the defendants, some of up to $14,881.62. When OPS discovered the billing irregularities, further investigations revealed the fraudulent companies that the plaintiffs were associated with.

“All of these actions were carried out by Ekeanyanwu and Okoro using valuable and confidential files and data from OPS’ computer system,” the complaint details, which constitutes an exploitation of OPS’ trust for the defendants’ own financial gain.

When the defendants were terminated for their misconduct, they had to turn in their company-issued laptops. When OPS procured the laptops again, all of the data had allegedly been deleted. Even when forensic specialists attempted to recover the data, it could not be recovered. OPS believes that the defendants are using the information to directly compete against OPS. OPS has reason to believe that Ekeanyanwu and Okoro have valuable trade secrets still in their possession.

The complaint cites a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act, a violation of Florida’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act, breach of duty of loyalty, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud. OPS is seeking favorable judgement, a trial by jury, damages, and any other relief deemed just by the court. The plaintiff is represented by Stovash, Case & Tingley.