October 27, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Case revealed the former company president downloaded confidential and proprietary information prior to and after leaving Independent Software, Inc., a leading Howard County-based government contractor
OWINGS MILLS, Md.. (Oct. 25, 2023)
RKW Law Group today announced success for its client, Independent Software, Inc., against its former president, Roy White, for the misappropriation of trade secrets, in a case recently concluded in Howard County Circuit Court. In the case of Independent Software, Inc. v. Roy White, RKW Law Group partner Don Walsh helped Independent Software obtain a verdict of compensatory and punitive damages against White totaling $3,853,744 plus attorney’s fees.
The case revealed that upon tendering his resignation in July 2021, White downloaded confidential and proprietary information from Independent Software’s systems and continued to download materials after his employment ended on Oct. 2 of that year. Independent Software, a government contractor based in Howard County, became suspicious when its laptop was returned with White’s profile deleted. Digital forensics of the device demonstrated a trail of missing files and movement of files off of the device. Restoration of White’s deleted email account told an even broader story of deception.
When confronted about the downloads, White denied taking anything from Independent Software. When asked about using a private laptop for company purposes, White denied ever having one. When forensics disclosed the use of an external hard drive connected to company equipment, White claimed it was for a personal project and was subsequently lost during an active shooter drill while he had been lecturing at a local school.
After a year of litigation, he confessed that he had the laptop and hard drive only upon being faced with indisputable proof he had used these devices and provided them for inspection. White then invoked his Fifth Amendment and spousal privileges to preclude inquiry into certain details such as why the information was taken, what was done with it, or whether any additional copies still existed.
After a three-day trial, the Court found that Independent Software created and possessed many trade secrets protected under the Maryland Uniform Trade Secrets Act (MUTSA). The Court concluded that when White secretly took those digital assets from Independent Software and began seeking opportunities with competitors, he violated the parties’ Shareholder Agreement and MUTSA.
In addition to awarding injunctive relief in favor of Independent Software against White preventing him from ever using or profiting from the materials he took, the Court assessed compensatory and punitive damages against White. The Court was aided by state case law and expert testimony which demonstrated that the proper measure of damages for his commercial theft was based on the development costs in creating those digital assets. The Court also found that punitive damages against White were appropriate given the malice exemplified by him in an amount of twice the compensatory award.
Rhonda Jansen, the President of Independent Software, stated, “We are so glad that justice has prevailed and that we can demonstrate to our customers and teammates that we take confidentiality seriously and honor our commitment to protect against all threats, external and internal.”
About RKW Law Group
Don Walsh and RKW have decades of experience handling government contract and commercial litigation, trade secret violations, and shareholder disputes in a variety of courts and forums representing startups to international companies. He may be contacted at dwalsh@RKWLawGroup.com or 443-379-4011.