In January, a Jackson Walker team led by Houston partners G. Scott Fiddler and Richard A. Howell blocked efforts to obtain a temporary injunction against their client Cotecna in an alleged employee raiding and trade secret dispute.
Cotecna and the plaintiff, Bureau Veritas, are in the testing, inspection, and certification business in the areas of agriculture, food safety, government and trade, minerals, and metals. After a number of Bureau Veritas employees left to go to work for Cotecna, Bureau Veritas sued Cotecna and five former employees on August 26, 2020, alleging an employee raiding conspiracy, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of employment agreements, and other claims. Bureau Veritas also sought a temporary injunction against Cotecna and the former employees.
Following expedited document production and eight depositions, the case proceeded to a temporary injunction hearing in which Bureau Veritas sought to limit Cotecna’s ability to conduct its testing, inspection, and certification business in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. The temporary injunction hearing lasted five days, during which Bureau Veritas called in nine witnesses, including a forensic expert. The parties presented more than 80 exhibits.
Immediately after the parties presented closing arguments, Judge Elaine Palmer denied Bureau Veritas’ application for an injunction it its entirety.
“We appreciate the opportunity to represent Cotecna in protecting its rights through this important hearing,” Richard said. “This case concerns contractual and legal issues related to employees’ efforts to change jobs in the midst of corporate changes and COVID.”
With the case expected to be set for trial in February 2022, Scott said, “We are pleased with the outcome of the injunction hearing and look forward to trying this case to a Harris County jury.”
Founded in 1887, Jackson Walker continues to advance the world of business by helping companies of all sizes navigate today’s increasingly complex, interconnected legal landscape. With more than 400 attorneys across seven offices, we are the fourth-largest law firm in the state and have been recognized by Law360 as a “Texas Powerhouse” and an “elite law firm” that regularly provides counsel to industry-leading clients on highly complex transactions. For explore the Firm’s experience representing clients in employment litigation matters in courts and before arbitrators throughout the country, visit our Labor & Employment Litigation practice page.