Protecting confidential information

Dole Fresh (UK) Limited, a large producer, distributor and seller of fresh fruit and vegetables, successfully defended a direct attack to its business by taking High Court injunctive relief action to protect it and recover its confidential information.

Dole commenced High Court injunction proceedings against three ex-employees, an existing Director of the business and another company who, in collaboration with the other parties, set up and funded a competing business. Injunction proceedings were commenced in relation to breach of fiduciary duties, confidentiality and restrictive covenants. The injunction prevented the defendants, by only a few days, from moving £20 million worth of business to a competing business.

The case involved extensive work with a private investigation agency (as surveillance was carried out on the defendants) as well as with a forensic computer expert, as the defendants had taken the client’s entire electronic top fruit business data, precedents, policies and client lists in addition to other confidential documentation.

The matter was resolved through mediation. The settlement secured extensive post-termination restrictions, the return of all company property as well as a significant sum being paid out for damages. The company also recovered the majority of their costs as part of the deal.

The team working on the case was supported by Ben Stepney and Kerri Boorman. Together they assisted the client in helping them to identify evidence and build a case sufficient to base injunction proceedings upon. Through robust and pragmatic advice, they enabled the client to take the legal and moral high ground, counselling them on how to manage the communications about the claim internally with their other employees, their suppliers and customers and to reach a successful conclusion for the business.

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