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D heddon background :)

Discussion in 'GI Path' started by Anonymous, Jan 23, 2013 at 1:26 PM.

  1. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    You Can’t Cure Stupid, and Unfortunately, You Can’t Sue for It Either
    On Friday, July 13, 2012 by Jana H. Woelfel posted in Noncompete Blog
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    On one hand, the Northern District of Texas’ CDx Holdings, Inc. and Caris Diagnostics, Inc. v. Heddon is simply a recent federal court case applying the Texas Supreme Court’s landmark Marsh USA. Inc. v. Cook decision and determining injunctive relief standards. On the other hand, it’s a tale of both employer and employee acting with cluelessness worthy of any vintage John Hughes 1980s movie where the teenager ultimately triumphs because the principal 100% knows, but can’t prove, the teenager’s deception. If you like to read noncompete and confidentiality legal opinions awash with such antics, this one’s for you.

    The story starts as most noncompete sagas do, with confidential information and agreements. Caris Diagnostics, a "national anatomic pathology provider," employed David Heddon to oversee sales of pathology services to dermatologists and dermatology centers. Caris provided Heddon with access to the SalesLogix database containing details about Caris' customers, accounts, client contact information, client preferences, etc. Caris password-protected the information and it was undisputed that a competitor would require substantial time to assemble this information.

    Similar to Marsh, Caris’ holding company – CDx - granted Heddon stock options subject to execution of a noncompete, nonsolicitation and nondisclosure agreement which he naturally signed. As is often the case in the idyllic preteen years, everything seemed to proceed without a blemish.

    Then things started to get crazy. Like any “tween,” “preteen” or “teen” who hasn’t really gotten the message about incriminating texts and emails (God love them), Heddon emailed a coworker, Karen Goldenson, to advise that he had been "hunting." Confirming that she had no illusions about what he was “hunting,” Ms. Goldenson asked if he had "an offer." Within one week of the email exchange, Miraca Holdings purchased CDx, then cashed out Heddon's stock options as part of the transaction. At roughly the same time, D-Path, a competitor to CDx and Caris, offered Heddon a job that would start on January 1, 2012. With a $20,000 stock option check in hand, Heddon and friends began preparing to exit Caris/CDx.

    On December 15, 2011, knowing that Heddon was "hunting," Ms. Goldenson forwarded to Heddon records of what some might consider to be confidential information about Caris' growth ideas in Michigan and a spreadsheet of Arizona physicians who were potential client targets for Caris. Not to be outdone on the dumb and dumber scale, in late December 2011, Heddon contacted Caris' IT department to request repair of his malfunctioning laptop, thereby insuring scrutiny of the device. On December 28, 2008, a Caris IT staffer informed Heddon that the laptop’s hard drive was shot and couldn't be replaced until January 3, 2012 when the SalesLogix (confidential customer database, remember) administrator returned from vacation because, wait for it, the SalesLogix administrator would need to put a new local SalesLogix database on the hard drive. Although Heddon was due to begin work for D-Path on January 1, 2012, he apparently was super conscientious and didn't want to miss a day of work between December 28 and January 1, and asked the IT staff member to ship the new laptop overnight express delivery to him anyway. I am sure work was crazy for Heddon at this time of year, as many dermatologist offices were bustling the Wednesday through Saturday before New Year’s.

    On Monday, January 2, 2012, Heddon, feeling oh so clever, emailed Goldenson that his regional VP and direct supervisor were going to have a bad day on January 3, 2012. Apparently he used the company email system to send the missive. Brilliant. On January 3, 2012, Heddon tendered his two-week notice of intent to resign from Caris. (Of course, the careful reader might recall that his effective date of hire with D-Path was January 1, 2012...but really, after Christmas expenses, who doesn't need a couple of extra paychecks to help cover all the holiday shopping...) Again, Heddon felt compelled to use the company email system to document exactly how much smarter he believed he was than Caris. After tendering the resignation email, Heddon then emailed Caris’ IT asking them to ship the new laptop with the new copy of SalesLogix on the hard drive to his home address. Naturally, the Caris IT department complied and express shipped the newly outfitted PC to Heddon's home address.

    Crazily enough, when Caris learned on January 10, 2012, that Heddon wanted the laptop containing a recent copy of the company's proprietary information to be sent to his home address, after he had tendered his resignation, they cried foul and ended his notice period prematurely, effective January 5, 2012. Like an outraged parent caught napping at curfew, Caris then demanded the return of the brand new laptop, plus two client computers Heddon also had in his possession.

    After retrieving the laptop, Caris discovered that Heddon had created a list of Caris client names on January 9, 2012. Shocking, I know. Shortly thereafter, they observed that D-Path was apparently providing services to Caris' clients, and seemed to have made headway with Caris’ biggest clients. Try to look stunned here. For those who've been down this path before, you know what happened next. Caris sued Heddon for breach of noncompete, nonsolicitation and misappropriation of trade secrets. Like the parent of a rebellious teenager caught crawling out through the bedroom window well after curfew, Caris felt like they had Heddon "red-handed."

    But, such was not the case. Although the court found the noncompete and nonsolicitation agreement valid, it was overbroad in restricting Heddon from competing in all 50 states, even though he only worked in southwestern Florida. The court found it was only reasonable to restrict him from competing in the area where he had worked, and held that Caris had not presented any evidence that Heddon was in fact working in that specific portion of Florida for D-Path or that he contacted the customers he had a relationship with while a Caris employee. Thus, while there was an enforceable noncompete, the court denied injunctive relief because Caris had no evidence that Heddon violated the agreement in southwestern Florida.

    The court also denied injunctive relief regarding disclosure of confidential information, although Heddon clearly had access to data for all 50 states and clearly had compiled a list of Caris customers, even receiving the list of Arizona customers from Ms. Goldenson. Caris had failed to produce any evidence that Heddon used any confidential information, thereby breaching the nondisclosure covenant.

    The case is a timely lesson in the school of noncompetes. While the facts may invoke our sympathies by confirming that Heddon was a doofus who played fast and loose with Caris' information, they weren’t legally sufficient to support injunctive relief. An employer must show that the former employee actually took confidential information and actually used or disclosed it. This isn't always easy -- just as it’s not always easy to know exactly what a teenager is really doing online. Cursory review of a teen’s smartphone may create suspicion of illicit activity (why did she look at THAT Instagram photo?), but proving any illicit activity actually occurred usually requires a lot more work, like getting the teen to actually speak a complete sentence in your presence. Not necessarily impossible, but certainly not easy or fun for either party.
  2. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Actually, there is a cure for this kind of stupid - you fire the idiot. And, one makes sure others know what kind of a lowlife the idiot is; thus, the public records, the blogs, and the word of mouth about what he's done are all available forever via the internet. Result: No one will EVER trust him and, even if they hire him, they will NEVER believe his bullshit.

    Heddon will only be able to work for second or third tier companies for the rest of his career. It appears the State of Florida and Caris have both accomplished their goal with Heddon - exposure of his true character.
  3. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    If the judges spent anytime with Mr. Heddon they would have sent him to the electric chair. Mr. Heddon has alway thought he was slicker than anyone else. What a BUTT WIPE!!
  4. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Willing to bet the following:
    - Heddon won the legal battle
    - Heddon made more $ than you where you losers still work
    - Heddon makes more $ than you do now
    - Heddon has defeated many before and after you
    - Heddon laughs at your years of ridicule
    - Heddon has a great job and a great company- Right fucking now! (Google it!)
    - Heddon is writing this - Right fucking now!
    - Heddon is laughing.

    .......Right fucking now!