Mark Thomas and Laura Martino successfully defended a banker at trial accused of breach of contract by his former employer. After working four and one half years at First American Bank, Nick Moser left to take a job opportunity with Great Western Bank. A little over a month later, his previous employer served him with a lawsuit alleging breach of the non-solicitation clause of his employment contract. Plaintiff sought damages of approximately $1 million as a result of one First American customer moving its business to Great Western Bank after Moser left First American. First American later amended its Petition to include an additional count of misappropriation of a trade secret based on Moser printing a copy of his personal Outlook contacts before resigning.
A 6-day jury trial was held in the Iowa District Court for Webster County on both counts. Thomas and Martino put forth evidence demonstrating that the First American customer that shifted its business had done so for reasons unrelated to Moser’s change in employment. In addition, they argued Moser’s Outlook contacts were not trade secrets since the names and phone numbers contained therein were publicly available and since most of Moser’s contacts were personal in nature. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Mr. Moser on both counts.