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EMC Corp. v. Clesle

Superior Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk

May 13, 2016

EMC Corporation
v.
Kurt Clesle No. 134124

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ALLOWING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

          Kenneth W. Salinger, Justice

         EMC Corporation has demonstrated that it is likely to succeed in proving that Kurt Clesle has violated his contractual obligations not to compete with EMC or solicit its customers or potential customers within twelve months after leaving EMC, as well as his contractual obligation not to use or disclose confidential information belonging to EMC. It has also demonstrated that it is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary injunctive relief, and that such harm outweighs any irreparable harm that Mr. Clesle will suffer if the requested injunction issues. The Court will therefore ALLOW the motion by EMC for a preliminary injunction, except that it declines to award fees and costs as part of the preliminary injunction.

         1. Procedural Background

         The Court entered an ex parte temporary restraining order on May 10, 2016, and scheduled a hearing on EMC's motion for a preliminary injunction for May 12, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. EMC made service of process, and of the summons and order of notice regarding the preliminary injunction hearing, on Mr. Clesle on May 10, 2016, by leaving copies of all relevant documents with Mr. Clesle's spouse at his residence in Illinois at around 8:00 p.m. Although Mr. Clesle had timely notice of the May 12 hearing, neither Mr. Clesle nor any attorney representing him contacted EMC or the court clerk about the pending preliminary injunction motion or appeared at the scheduled hearing. The Court heard oral argument from EMC at the May 12 hearing.

         2. Findings of Fact

         The Court makes the following findings of fact based on the verified complaint and affidavit submitted by EMC.

         Kurt Clesle worked for EMC Corporation from 1999 through 2016. He was based in Chicago and thus was part of EMC's so-called " Central Division." In July 2015, EMC acquired a company called Virtustream for $1.2 billion. Virtustream is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of EMC that develops and sells customized Cloud-computing software and services. Clesle's most recent position with EMC was Director of Sales Strategic Planning responsible for selling Virtustream software and services. EMC entrusted Clesle with confidential information regarding its Virtustream product capabilities, pricing structures, and lists of customers and potential customers. EMC paid Clesle an annual salary that most recently was $400, 000 per year, and also paid him various bonuses. During the roughly 17 years that Mr. Clesle worked for EMC he was paid a total of roughly $6.7 million by EMC.

         On August 1, 2015, after EMC acquired Virtustream, Clesle entered into a " Key Employee Agreement" with EMC in which Clesle agreed to the following terms:

i. Non-Competition
Clesle agreed that for the first twelve months after the termination of his employment with EMC he would not work for or provide any services to " any entity that is developing, producing, marketing, soliciting or selling products or services competitive with products or services" being developed or offered by any EMC business unit for which Clesle worked during the two years before his EMC employment ended.

ii. Non-Solicitation of Customers

Clesle agreed that for the first twelve months after the termination of his employment with EMC he also would not " solicit a customer or potential customer" of EMC " to purchase products and/or services competitive with [EMC's] products or services" if, within the two years before the termination of Clesle's employment with EMC he either (a) directly or indirectly sold competitive products or services on behalf of EMC, or (b) obtained any confidential information about that customer or potential customer.

iii. Confidentiality

Clesle agreed that he would neither disclose nor use for his own benefit any trade secret or other non-public information concerning EMC, both while working for EMC and after his EMC employment ended.

iv. Return of Property

Clesle agreed that when he stopped working for EMC he would return to EMC all confidential information, equipment, devices, and other property that belongs to EMC.

         Clesle's last day of employment with EMC was April 11, 2016. One week later Clesle started working for Amazon Web Services (" AWS") as a Central Partners Sales Leader. His responsibilities include selling AWS cloud software and services that compete directly against EMC's Virtustream product.

         On April 10, one day before Clesle's last day of employment with EMC, Clesle copied three files containing information about Virtustream marketing efforts to a thumb drive. One of those files is a sales-related PowerPoint presentation that does not appear to contain any confidential information, because it appears that all information in that file is shared with actual and potential customers of EMC. The other two files do contain valuable confidential and proprietary information belonging to EMC. One is a spreadsheet that contains sales intelligence regarding current EMC customers as well as potential customers, all compiled by EMC to help target its sales efforts and kept confidential by EMC. The other spreadsheet is ...


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