Jordan Lynch & Cancienne has secured a multimillion-dollar verdict for client Rigzone.com, Inc., an online oil industry employment website, after a jury found that a former employee stole Rigzone’s trade secrets to help grow a competing website.
Judge David Hittner of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas entered the final judgment, awarding Rigzone just over $3 million in damages for misappropriation of trade secrets. The jury also found that former employee David Kent violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
According to the lawsuit, Mr. Kent, who founded and later sold Rigzone, unlawfully accessed Rigzone’s computer systems and stole hundreds of thousands of resumes, profiles and other confidential information. He then used the stolen information to invite Rigzone members to join a new website he created called Oilpro.com.
During the nine-day trial – which began in November 2020 but was paused due to a COVID-19 outbreak – Jordan Lynch & Cancienne attorneys presented evidence detailing Mr. Kent’s scheme. “Mr. Kent plotted for years to hack into Rigzone’s computer systems for the sole purpose of stealing proprietary information,” said Walter Lynch of Jordan Lynch & Cancienne. “He then exploited the stolen information for his own personal gain.”
Jurors reached a verdict on March 26, finding that Mr. Kent misappropriated the company’s trade secrets and breached his fiduciary duty to Rigzone by using the confidential information and engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity.
“This verdict is almost five years in the making,” said Mr. Lynch. “While this case has certainly seen many twists and turns, including a delay due to a global pandemic, we are grateful to the jury for its diligence and pleased to have a decision in our client’s favor.”
The case is DHI Group et al. v. Kent Jr. et al., Cause No. 4:16-cv-01670. Jordan, Lynch & Cancienne PLLC is a Houston-based civil trial law firm whose lawyers have a proven courtroom track record in high-stakes litigation nationwide. They represent clients as both plaintiffs and defendants in commercial disputes, construction matters, products liability, toxic torts, trade secret, and catastrophic personal injury claims. Flexibility in fee structuring is a hallmark of the way the firm does business. To learn more, contact our firm.