McBride & Son alleges former employees left to work for competitor, misappropriated trade secrets

By Gabriel Neves | Dec 8, 2018

ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis-based home building company is suing two former employees for allegedly misappropriating proprietary trade secret information.

McBride & Son Cos. LLC filed a lawsuit against former employees Patrick Jonathan Kelley and Malon Ledbetter on Nov. 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri over allegations that the two sent confidential company information to its competitors.

Kelley and Ledbetter left McBride to accept employment at its competitor, Payne Family Homes, the complaint states. Both worked for McBride as project manager and sales manager, respectively.

"Until abruptly leaving their employment with the company, both Kelley and Ledbetter were entrusted with access to the most critical, proprietary information in the company, including real time sales information, market data, business plans, financial information and other data," the suit states.

Despite being bound by non-solicitation and separation agreements, Kelley and Ledbetter allegedly have maliciously disclosed information that was used to their competitive advantage and against McBride.

The complaint described that "on his last day of employment with the company, Kelley sent from his company email account to his personal email account proprietary trade secret information reflecting certain subdivision budgets, sales goals and thresholds, and the gross profit associated with the same."

Long after leaving McBride, the defendants allegedly continued to abuse their former employer's trust.

"McBride’s investigation has revealed that defendants continued to illegally access McBride’s confidential Salesforce Chatter database, which contains proprietary trade secret information such as real time sales data. McBride has further confirmed that several of these incidents of computer tampering and trade secret theft occurred from an internet protocol address that is owned by or affiliated with Payne Homes," the complaint said.

McBride is seeking damages for alleged violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act and of the Missouri Uniform Trade Secrets Act, plus an injunction for the trade secrets, costs, attorney's fees and a jury trial.

McBride is represented by attorney Matthew Schelp of Husch Blackwell LLC of St. Louis. 

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri case number 4:18-cv-02013-JAR

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