CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Stealing a competing team's signs on the baseball diamond is part of the game. So is swiping a base. Filching data from a competitor's computers? That can lead to litigation about theft of trade secrets and corporate spying. Reds' majority owner Bob Castellini has just such a mess embroiling one of his business subsidiaries in Arkansas. It is unfolding as the baseball team opens Spring Training with a strong mix of returning players and new faces. Castellini has every reason to feel good about the 2010 Reds. What about Castellini Co. subsidiary RWI Transportation? An amended complaint filed last week in a Faytettevill, Ark., Circuit Court claims RWI employees received unauthorized data from TransManage Worldwide's computers. Maybe the case won't make it to second base. But here's a sample from the lawsuit:
" . . . knowingly and with intent to defraud exceeded his authorized access to TransManage Computers and furthered the intended fraud and obtained valuable information from TransManage computers. RWI . . . by assisting in . . . conduct and receiving the valuable information as a result of [name deleted] conduct, knowingly and with intent to defraud, accessed TransManage computers without authorization and furthered the intended fraud and obtained valuable information from TransManage computers."
The dispute involves a former TransManage employee who was taking a new job with RWI. He allegedly e-mailed a closely held customer list to his new boss at RWI. Both companies ship freight. TransManage contends that accessing the data and transmitting it via computer to a competitor violates the Arkansas Trade Secrets Act, the Arkansas Computer Related Crimes Act and the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
According to exhibits attached to the amended complaint filed Feb. 19, the former TransManage worker e-mailed a list of 22 customers and 47 agents to himself on a Yahoo account. Two days later, he e-mailed the list to his boss at the Castellini Co. subsidiary. The lawsuit does not say if RWI undertook a pillaging spree for TransManage customers and agents. It does claim the Castellini competitor "sustained damages." It alleges that non-compete agreements were broken by workers who went to work for Castellini's subsidiary.
The case is filed under No. CV-09-3651 in Benton County., Ark. Circuit Court. RWI wants it dismissed. Fayetteville lawyer Peter (Tripp) Estes III filed the amended complaint for the plaintiff.