Law Firms

Former Proskauer COO is enjoined from using trade secrets allegedly stolen from firm

  • Print.


Image from Shutterstock.

Updated: A federal judge in Manhattan, New York City, has issued a preliminary injunction barring former Proskauer Rose chief operating officer Jonathan O’Brien from using confidential information that he allegedly downloaded and printed before a planned leap to a rival law firm.

U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres of the Southern District of New York granted the injunction banning use of the data during a telephone hearing Tuesday, according to coverage by Law360 and Reuters.

Torres also barred O’Brien from working for anyone with whom he had already shared or discussed Proskauer’s confidential information.

O’Brien had planned to work at Paul Hastings, but that firm now says he won’t be working there.

Torres said Proskauer had shown a likelihood of success on its claims under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, according to Law360.

“O’Brien misappropriated this information by, at the very least, knowingly violating firm policy several times,” she said.

Torres gave O’Brien time, however, to oppose Proskauer’s request that he turn over the password for his firm-issued cellphone.

O’Brien has contended that he downloaded the information to allow him to work while on vacation in Mauritius in Africa. He had planned to return to Proskauer one day before his end date of Jan. 6. He also claimed that Proskauer filed suit to discourage other employees from leaving.

Proskauer had responded that O’Brien had downloaded 34 gigabytes of data, and it was “absurd” to suggest that he needed that much data.

During the Tuesday hearing, O’Brien’s lawyer Russell Beck said the allegations don’t hold up on closer look, according to Reuters.

“I agree, it does look bad, but when you actually look closely at it, you realize that it’s not actually accurate,” Beck said.

Beck gave this statement to the ABA Journal through a spokesperson: “Mr. O’Brien has already taken the steps required by [the] court order and remains fully committed to continuing to do so. We look forward to presenting his side of the story during next week’s hearing.”

See also: “Proskauer accuses former COO of ‘brazen and malicious’ theft of firm’s sensitive information”

Updated Jan. 25 at 1:20 p.m. to include the statement from Russell Beck. Updated on Jan. 27 to reflect a Reuters correction on a statement by Beck during the hearing and to report the cellphone dispute concerned turning over his password.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.