Friday, August 22, 2014

Canadian employee faces Cargill lawsuit

Cargill has filed a lawsuit against Jason Kuan who used to be the Canadian manager of the company’s case-ready business.

Cargill says he took company secrets to JBS’s operations at Greeley, Colorado, when he accepted a job offer there. He left Cargill Aug. 1.

Kuan received a laptop from Cargill as part of his employment there, the lawsuit states.

Cargill says he resigned Aug. 1 without notice, and Cargill launched an investigation.

Cargill’s lawsuit says a forensic analysis of the laptop revealed he had downloaded hundreds of “highly confidential and proprietary” files to an external hard drive that he did not return to the company before his resignation.

Kuan had signed a confidentiality agreement that, among other things, Cargill says prohibits such transfer of proprietary electronic information.

In rare cases when such transfer is appropriate, the company provides specially approved, secure devices for such purposes, the lawsuit states.

Cargill believes Kuan has the following Cargill property:

  • Strategic plans for Case Ready North America, which include customer plans, financials, key focus areas, and growth plans;

  • Presentations on Case Ready plant transitions, which include capital investments, plant layout, project spending, pictures of the plant floor and equipment, staffing plans, yield info, customer plans, volume by customer, audit findings, functional area plans and progress;

  • Presentations to CRLT on progress for Case Ready Canada plants, which include information regarding new packaging systems, plant layout, and operational planning.
JBS owns XL Foods of Brooks, Alta., Canada’s second-largest beef-slaughtering plant.

On Aug. 1, Cargill says in the complaint, it learned that Kuan took a job with JBS USA, and that on or about Aug. 6, JBS announced that Kuan would head up JBS’s new case ready division.

“Kuan’s use of Cargill Case Ready’s highly confidential and proprietary information would allow him to reap an unfair and unlawful advantage over Cargill,” the lawsuit says.

“Kuan should not be permitted to keep, duplicate or in any manner use the highly confidential proprietary information siphoned from Cargill Case Ready for his benefit or that of his new employer.”
Cargill is asking a judge to enjoin Kuan’s use of the information and award damages to be determined at trial.

The suit does not name JBS USA as a defendant.