National Fish may soon settle trade secrets case

Published on
August 1, 2018

National Fish and Seafood, its former executive, and Tampa Bay Fisheries may soon settle a contentious trade secrets lawsuit filed less than two weeks ago.

Pacific Andes-owned National Fish, based in Gloucester, Massachusetts, U.S.A., filed a complaint against Kathleen Scanlon, its former head of research, development, and quality assurance, and an unnamed executive on 20 July, 2018.

The complaint alleges that Scanlon, who was recently hired by Tampa Bay Fisheries, “unlawfully acquired NFS’ confidential information and trade secrets” involving its confidential and proprietary clam production process.  NFS, which markets the longstanding Matlaw’s stuffed clam line, said Scanlon’s actions were “part of a scheme to harm NFS’ position in the seafood-supply industry,” according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Boston.

However, all the parties involved are now “making substantial progress on resolving this dispute,” according to a joint statement that NFS, Tampa Bay, and Scanlon submitted to the court on 30 July.

Attorneys for both National Fish and Scanlon did not return requests from SeafoodSource for comment. 

To allow for continued negotiations, attorneys for NFS, Scanlon, and Tampa Bay requested that a hearing on the injunction against Scanlon and an evidentiary hearing scheduled for 3 August be postponed. 

District Judge Leo T. Sorokin agreed to move the hearing to 7 September.

According to the complaint, after working for NFS for 20 years, Scanlon voluntarily resigned on 11 July. She was set to begin working for Tampa Bay Fisheries on 23 July. 

However, District Judge Leo T. Sorokin ordered Scanlon not to work for Tampa Bay until at least 31 July, and said that Tampa Bay and its employees cannot use or disclose “any confidential information of NFS except in communications with counsel in defense of this action.”

Sorokin also ordered Scanlon to turn over her NFS-issued iPhone and password, which she did at a hearing on the case on 23 July. 

However, Scanlon’s attorneys said she has not disclosed any confidential NFS information to anyone, but counsel.

Contributing Editor

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