Ex-Cargill manager fights for JBS job
Oct. 17, 2014
by Erica Shaffer
DENVER – Cargill, which sued a former manager of its case-ready Canada business for breach of contract, now wants to keep the former employee from working for a competitor for one year, according to court documents.
In August, Cargill sued Jason Kuan in federal court for breach of contract, alleging he took proprietary information about Cargill before resigning to take a position at JBS USA in Greeley, Colo. Now, the company wants to keep Kuan from working at JBS USA for one year in an effort to thwart any damages stemming from the loss of proprietary trade secrets.
In court documents, Cargill said Kuan took sensitive and detailed information including a Cargill Case-Ready business plan that outlined specific operational and customer strategies through 2020. Kuan spent 20 years working for Cargill, most recently as vice president and general manager of the company's Case-Ready Canada division. Cargill alleges Kuan downloaded confidential and proprietary information from a laptop before abruptly resigning Aug. 1. JBS USA, a subsidiary of JBS SA, Sáo Paulo, Brazil, was not named in the lawsuit.
Kuan's lawyers said acknowledged that Kuan would periodically backup documents from his work computer "due to previous equipment failures", according to court documents. "Kuan saved these documents without any knowledge of a policy prohibiting such behavior," court documents state.
Cargill alleges that Kuan violated two confidentiality agreements with the company that required him to return confidential information and trade secrets. Cargill argues that Kuan violated both agreements when he downloaded Cargill Case-Ready documents without authorization and failed to return them after he resigned. But in a court filing, Kuan said he immediately was served with a lawsuit before he could return the materials. He subsequently returned all of the documents.
Kuan's lawyers deny their client stole any trade secrets. They argued that Cargill's concerns about misappropriation of trade secrets are misplaced because "the information in the documents that Kuan backed-up is neither secret nor of value..."