RANA Technologies Sues L3Harris For Hiring Former Employees

Plaintiff RANA Technologies Enterprises (RTE) filed a complaint against L3Harris Technologies for “tortious interference with employment contracts between RTE and its employees,” “tortious interference with non-compete agreements between RTE and its former employees,” “breach of a non-disclosure agreement with RTE,” “breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing,” and “aiding and abetting a breach of the fiduciary duties between RET and its employees.”

L3Harris is a technology company which “produces electronic systems and equipment for us in government, defense and commercial sectors.” In November 2011, L3Harris partnered with RANA Technologies, an “Afghan information and communication technology company,” to promote L3Harris’s products and services in Afghanistan. In early 2016 the companies renewed their International Representative Agreement (IRA), which was the same as their 2011 agreement, until March 31, 2017. The parties were bound by the IRA and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) for their work together. For example, the NDA prohibited “the solicitation and/or hire of either party’s employees.”

Before the lawsuit, RTE knew that two of its senior employees started their own company, Arianna Professional Logistics Services (APLS), which is a subcontractor for L3Harris. However, RTE learned that the two employees, David Shah and Syed Balkhi, “were actively recruiting other RTE employees to join APLS”; the two employees were terminated after this discovery. RTE also notified L3Harris that its former employees “cofounded APLS and were in violation of non-compete agreements with RTE” and that “a number of its current employees were now working at APLS.”

RTE asked L3Harris to “remov[e] APLS from its employ.” L3Harris asked RTE for a list of current and former RTE employees now at APLS within the past two years and promised that those employees would be “immediately removed from the project.” Shortly afterward, RTE informed L3Harris of another former employee that joined APLS, who was violating his non-compete with RTE. However, soon after renewing the International Representative Agreement, L3Harris spoke with APLS to discuss an ongoing joint project, the “Enterprise Sustainment Program”; RTE previously worked on this project with L3Harris. Former employees Shah and Balkhi “oversaw performance on the Enterprise Sustainment Program on behalf of RTE” and “each had unrestricted access to RTE’s technical solutions and pricing information which, upon information and belief, was used to solicit and secure the Enterprise Sustainment Program and other subcontracts for APLS.” Consequently, RTE claims that employees at APLS “utilized their insider knowledge of RTE’s inner workings to secure an award for APLS” in 2016. RTE notified L3Harris that 28 employees were violating contracts; 25 were violating employee terms and 3 were violating two-year non-compete agreements.

L3Harris and APLS continued to work together until April 2017, despite RTE’s objections. Plaintiff RTE claims that “L3Harris initiated a scheme designed to forge a relationship with APLS and, ultimately, encouraged RTE’s employees to abandon RTE and continue working solely for L3Harris through APLS.” RTE states that L3Harris awarded its subcontracts to APLS and other competitors of RTE. Later, RTE was notified that L3Harris wanted “a rest” from their partnership. However, plaintiff RTE believes that L3Harris “continued to solicit and employ APLS while contemporaneously bound to the terms and conditions of the IRA and the NDA until ultimately extinguishing its ongoing relationship with RTE.” Further, RTE claims that L3Harris’s breach was intentional and improper through its actions with APLS when it had knowledge of these agreements and APLS’s relationship with RTE. RTE accuses L3Harris of luring former RTE employees, causing both the employees and L3Harris to violate their respective agreements with RTE. RTE asserts that it has suffered damages and losses as a result of this conduct.

RTE has sought an award for damages on all counts, an award for attorney’s costs and fees, and other relief as determined by the court.

The suit is filed in the Western District of New York. The plaintiff is represented by Calihan Law.