NationsBenefits LLC, one of two defendants in a lawsuit filed by plaintiffs HI Technology Corp and Interactive Communications International Inc. (together, HI Tech) has agreed to a preliminary injunction barring defendant Roderick J. Kersch, a former HI Tech executive, from working for NationsBenefit until the lawsuit is resolved. The trade secrets case was filed last month and is proceeding before Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. in the Northern District of Georgia.
The complaint, filed contemporaneously with a motion for a temporary restraining order, describes the suit as “the ultimate case of commercial backstabbing and employment deception.” The plaintiff accuses NationsBenefit of covertly engaging Kersh to help the former become a HI Tech competitor when it was previously a business partner. Then, the filing alleges, NationsBenefit hired Kersch who lifted HI Tech’s confidential and trade secret information to pave the way for NationsBenefit.
Specifically, Kersh worked for HI Tech’s “InComm Health,” a subset of its end-to-end payments platform business. Specifically, InComm Health “provides a payment platform for the consumer purchase of healthcare related products that are qualifying items as specified by the applicable health plan, such as over-the-counter medicines, health and wellness-related products, [and] first aid supplies,” the complaint said.
The filing asserts that Kersch sought to breach his non-compete agreement and stole proprietary information from the company after he was terminated in July 2021. HI Tech reportedly discovered the misconduct because “Kersch unknowingly left an electronic trail of his and NationsBenefits’ deceptive and unlawful behavior when he synced his personal Gmail account to his work email account.” The complaint states five claims for relief including breach of the duty of loyalty and violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act.
In this week’s stipulated preliminary injunction, NationsBenefits agreed not to permit Kersch to perform any services for it during the pendency of the litigation. Among other concessions, it also agreed to provide plaintiffs’ counsel with a hard drive containing every email that Kersch sent to anyone with a NationsBenefits email account between November 2020 and his termination from HI Tech.
While the stipulation resolves the need for the scheduled temporary restraining order as to NationsBenefits, it does not as to Kersch, the filing notes. As such, the plaintiff requests that the requested temporary relief hearing against Kersch proceed as scheduled on September 13.