Lenox Corp. Sues its Ex- General Counsel

Interestingly, table wear manufacturer Lenox Corp. of Bristol, Pennsylvania has sued its former general counsel William Robedee at the Federal Court, Newark on March 5, 2015, claiming that Robedee took up a job with its competitor Company Nambe LLC, while negotiating to acquire the Nambe as Lenox’s representative. See Lenox Corporation v. William J. Robedee and Louis Scala, 3:2015cv01654 (2015).[1]

The issue came up post notification by Nambe to end the acquisition negotiations on August 25, 2014, when not much later on September 12, 2014, Nambe announced Robedee’s taking charge as the President and Chief Executive Officer for Nambe. Lenox subsequently brought a claim of unfair competition, civil conspiracy and breach of duty against Robedee along with Louis Scala, who was also employed by Lenox earlier as the Senior Vice President, but later joined Nambe. Lenox alleged that Robedee breached his duty of loyalty by putting up his own personal interest above that of his client and employer. The company also alleged that in the process of its employment with Lenox, Robedee has obtained confidential information about the company and has taken undue advantage of it- more particularly the information passed on during the ongoing acquisition negotiations between the two companies. Also, in and around August 2014, Nambe sent certain financial documents to Lenox, which was retained by Robedee. He further used those documents to persuade Nambe to take its business off for sale and in the process hire him and Scala to improve its business value before selling the same. The suit seeks unspecified compensatory damages and return of company’s confidential information.

Robedee retaliated by stating the lawsuit as frivolous and labeled it as an “underhanded bullying tactics and employee retention by intimidation”. He further stated that every in-house counsel obtains confidential information about their employer but such obtainment or possession shall not intend to stop him seeking a new job. He expressed his anger towards Lenox in stating that in order to retain prominent employees, companies usually incentivize them. On the whole, this seems to be an interesting case that is likely to come up with more hidden facts.

 



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