In a closely- watched case, a Denton County jury has decided that an individual and his new company should pay the individual’s former employer $700,000 for theft of trade secrets and breach of fiduciary duty.
The individual, Kevin Wolfe, had worked for 5 years as general manager for a manufacturing company, Medical Extrusions Technologies-Texas, Inc., located in Lewisville, Texas. In 2010, Wolfe decided that he wanted to start a competing business, Heat Shrink Innovations, LLC, in Carrollton, Texas. The jury found that Wolfe took trade secrets belonging to METT, and breached his fiduciary duty to METT. The jury also found that Wolfe’s new employer, Heat Shrink Innovations, LLC, participated in the breach of fiduciary duty and conspired with Wolfe and his wife to harm METT.
Among the allegations was that Wolfe had used METT’s internal financial data to obtain an SBA-backed loan for his new company.
After secretly working on his new business venture for over a year, Wolfe sent notice of their resignation in a one-line email to METT’s president in late April. Wolfe promptly moved several miles away and formally became an employee of his new company.
METT obtained a temporary injunction against Wolfe, his wife and their new company shortly thereafter.
The Plaintiff was represented by Virginia Hammerle and Craig Price of Hammerle Finley Law Firm.
“There is a line that former employees cannot cross when they decide to compete with their former employer. It is clear that the jury believed that Mr. Wolfe and his new company crossed that line” said Hammerle. “This verdict should send a message to both employees and employers