TIG Awarded Combined $10.89 Million Verdict in Compensatory and Punitive Damages in Trade Secrets Case against FusionStorm
Jury verdict will help to set standard of conduct for the industry
SAN DIEGO –– IT solutions integrator Technology Integration Group (TIG)
has been awarded $9.36 million in compensatory damages and $1.525 million in punitive damages in California Superior Court in a case against FusionStorm, three of its executives, and three former TIG employees. The damages were awarded by a jury in San Francisco last week.
In January 2007 TIG filed a lawsuit accusing former employees of misappropriating trade secrets and conspiring with FusionStorm to weaken TIG’s operations in the Tampa, Fla. market including disclosing sensitive pricing, vendor, and company financial information, while still working for TIG and utilizing the company’s computer systems. TIG’s complaint alleged that then Branch Manager Michael Dragoni and other former employees Randy Barber and Charles King were helping FusionStorm solicit TIG employees, divert its business and dismantle its Tampa operations in order to establish a FusionSorm presence in Tampa.
TIG hired Dragoni in 2004 as a Branch Manager who eventually headed up the company’s 13-member Tampa operation. TIG alleged that two years later, Dragoni flew to California to meet with FusionStorm representatives and right before the meeting emailed two years of TIG’s profit and loss statements to Brad Thompson, FusionStorm’s VP of Sales, and Tim Tonges, the company’s COO. TIG also alleged that Dragoni provided FusionStorm with information regarding open quotes and pricing so that TIG customers could be targeted by FusionStorm’s new office. When Dragoni resigned in 2007, he had already secured office space for FusionStorm in the Tampa area. TIG filed its complaint the same day.
The jury found FusionStorm, its executives John Varel, Brad Thompson and Tim Tonges, and former TIG employees Michael Dragoni, Randy Barber and Charles King, liable for various causes of action that included breach of fiduciary duty, breach of loyalty, and misappropriation of trade secrets, among other causes of action. Punitive damages were also awarded for the same conduct. The finding that three separate trade secrets were misappropriated means that TIG can also seek compensation for its legal fees.
“This outcome will help set standards of conduct for our industry,” said Bruce Geier, President/CEO of Technology Integration Group. “FusionStorm attempted to illegally lure away key personnel from our operation in Tampa, and I’m pleased that the jury recognized that the actions of FusionStorm and the other defendants were unacceptable corporate misconduct, and that they decided to compensate TIG for the harm done to our business, and to punish FusionStorm and the other defendants for their behavior.”
A premier ISO 9001:2008 certified IT systems integrator, TIG has over 29 years of experience providing customers with best-in-class technology solutions. A financially stable computing technology provider, TIG has remained profitable every year since the company’s founding in 1981. A Certified Minority Enterprise, certified Small Business, and a Corporate Plus® member of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), TIG is a leading diversity supplier to organizations nationwide. In addition to the company’s headquarters in San Diego, TIG has offices located in Albuquerque, Atlanta, Boise, Boulder, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Irvine, Las Vegas, Los Alamitos, Philadelphia, Torrance, Richmond, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Francisco Bay area, Seattle, Tampa, and Shanghai, China. For more information visit www.TIG.com