Description: Richard Roe was an employee of Acme hired to run the voice/data cabling division of this growing organization. Richard Roe terminates his employment with Acme providing no notice and did not provide Acme with any opportunity to inquire as to open issues with existing clients and jobs.
Type of Case: Civil Litigation
Court: Dallas County in Dallas, TX
Plaintiff: Acme Voice/Data Cabling Company
Defendant: Richard Roe in Operations at Acme
Complication: To complicate matters, there was no employment contract, confidentiality agreement, security policy, or employee titles. The employee handbook consisted of approximately two pages of text. No documentation existed showing that Richard Roe was an Officer of Acme.
Richard Roe’s term of employment at Acme was May 8, 2000 through May 11, 2005.
Claims of Plaintiff
Acme purports that Richard Roe was an Officer of Acme and, as an Officer, had a Fiduciary Duty of no harm. Acme believes that Richard Roe took both customer contact and proprietary data from company systems to use in direct competition. Acme also believed existing data had been modified or removed from the system by Richard Roe.
Texas is a right-to-work state and doesn’t enforce non-compete agreements. Richard Roe claimed no knowledge of his job title or responsibilities within Acme.
Computer Forensic Evidence Recovered
This is a typical small company environment where everyone wears many hats and may have various titles depending upon the situation. Richard Roe was recognized internally as both the Director and the VP of Operations. In the absence of official titles, employment offers, and employment agreements, proof had to be located that Richard Roe knew that his position at Acme was that of an Officer.
Below are two examples of evidence located from 2005 that clearly show that Richard Roe possessed knowledge and advertisement of his position as VP of Operations:
- Multiple documents were located on Acme’s file server containing employee names, contact information, and titles. The purpose of these documents was for inclusion in proposals being sent to potential clients. The documents labeled Richard Roe as both the Vice President and Director of Operations at Acme. A search through Richard Roe’s 1GB email file revealed many instances where these documents were sent by him outside the organization to potential clients.
- An email conversation was discovered between Richard Roe and a client Acme performed subcontract work for. In the final email, a document, identified as a subcontractor agreement, was attached, and the sender stated, “Have an Officer sign and return two copies of the attached subcontractor agreement.” A search through printed files revealed that Richard Roe himself signed the subcontractor agreement and wrote in the title, “VP of Operations.”
There were numerous other items found with similar impact to those mentioned above. All the evidence combined clearly corroborated the plaintiff’s assertion that Richard Roe was employed, and had knowledge of his employment, as an Officer of Acme.
NOTE: Protegga LLC respects the privacy of all parties involved in each of our computer forensics investigation cases and, therefore, will not disclose cause numbers, company or individual credentials, or other items that may lead to identification.