Schiff Hardin Wins Victory in Trade Secrets Litigation for JLG Industries, Inc.
- Client: JLG Industries, Inc.
- Date: February 2012
- Location: Kane County, Illinois
On February 14, 2012, Judge Thomas C. Mueller of the Circuit Court of Kane County, Illinois, found that former JLG employee David R. Baxter had violated a court-ordered deadline to disclose the location of numerous JLG computer files that Mr. Baxter copied shortly before resigning from the company. The court awarded a monetary fine against Mr. Baxter and directed that Mr. Baxter would continue to be subject to a daily fine until he discloses the location of JLG's computer files.
The February 14 order is the latest victory for JLG Industries in a dispute that began last September, when Mr. Baxter announced that he was resigning from JLG to accept a similar position with one of JLG's competitors. Within 24 hours following Mr. Baxter's resignation, Schiff Hardin commenced suit on JLG's behalf in the Kane County Circuit Court against both Mr. Baxter and his would-be employer. JLG's complaint alleged that Mr. Baxter had extensive knowledge of JLG's confidential information and that his employment with JLG's competitor threatened disclosure of JLG's confidential information. Schiff Hardin obtained interim relief for JLG in the form of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and evidence preservation order.
Schiff Hardin's investigation revealed that, in the days immediately preceding his resignation, Mr. Baxter had copied numerous JLG computer files and then had failed to return the files to JLG in violation of the court's TRO. On behalf of JLG, Schiff Hardin brought a contempt motion against Mr. Baxter to enforce the TRO and to compel Mr. Baxter to return JLG's computer files.
After hearing testimony from computer forensics experts, on December 15, 2011, Judge Mueller granted Schiff Hardin's contempt motion, finding that Mr. Baxter had made copies of JLG computer files prior to his resignation and that he had failed to disclose the files or their location in violation of the TRO. Judge Mueller set a deadline for Mr. Baxter to turn over the files and imposed a daily cash fine as a penalty if Mr. Baxter refused to obey the court’s order.
At the February 14 hearing, the court held that Mr. Baxter had not complied with the court's orders because he still has not revealed the location of the copied computer files. The court directed Mr. Baxter to immediately pay the fine, which will continue to accrue daily until Mr. Baxter discloses the location of the files.
At the same hearing, JLG also announced that it had reached a settlement with the competitor who had attempted to hire Mr. Baxter. Mr. Baxter is now the sole remaining defendant in the litigation.