Senior living and care referral service provider A Place for Mom has won a preliminary injunction against a former employee who allegedly stole trade secrets and used proprietary information to solicit customers for a direct competitor.
Lisa Perkins was hired as a healthcare account executive in 2015, signing confidentiality, non-solicitation and non-competition contracts, according to the court document. She left the company in April, however, saying she was going to “care for her aging mother,” APFM said. The company said it later learned that Perkins left to work for Senior Living Specialists in Addison, TX, a direct competitor.
When APFM reviewed her work email, the company reportedly discovered that six weeks before she resigned, Perkins sent to her personal email account “highly sensitive company records and trade secrets” related to APFM’s customers, referral sources, training materials, and sales and marketing strategies.
Perkins, who was involved in an ongoing dispute with the company over commission payments, according to the court document, said the emails contained non-proprietary and non-confidential information to verify whether the company had paid her all wages due.
APFM filed suit on June 16 in King County Superior Court in Seattle. Discovery revealed that Perkins accessed the company’s sales database 11 times after leaving the company and forwarded one of the company’s lead sourcing reports with “extensive information” about its referral sources, customers and marketing efforts, to her new employer on June 19 after being served with a copy of the summons and complaint.
The complaint also states that Perkins contacted two or more of APFM’s referral sources after leaving the company, communicated with at least one employee about joining a competitor before she resigned, and “stole hard copy documents and copied documents to a jump drive.”
The Superior Court found a likelihood that the company would succeed on the merits of its case and that Perkins’ continued actions in the senior living and care referral services arena “will result in actual and substantial injury.”
The preliminary injunction bars Perkins from using or disclosing any of the company’s confidential information and trade secrets; performing lead generation, customer referrals or any other senior living and care referral services in Dallas and Fort Worth; and soliciting or contacting any referral sources, or current or potential APFM customers to provide senior living and care referral services.
APFM declined to comment on ongoing litigation.
“Our focus remains on empowering our employees and network of 17,000 communities and home care providers to help families find the best senior living options for their loved ones,” the company told McKnight’s Senior Living.