Electrical distributor Graybar, St. Louis, MO, has filed a lawsuit against former CFO Beatty D’Alessandro alleging he retained confidential, proprietary and trade secret electronic data following his resignation as senior vice president and CFO.
Graybar announced in December 2012 that D’Alessandro was leaving the distributor after 29 years. Shortly after, chemicals distributor Univar announced it had tapped D’Alessandro as its next CFO. Univar and Graybar do not directly compete.
The following details come from the lawsuit filed April 1, 2013, by Graybar in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, obtained by MDM. No response has been filed by D’Alessandro.
In the lawsuit, Graybar alleges D’Alessandro violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Missouri Computer Tampering Statute, trade secret laws and several Graybar fiduciary and ethical codes.
D’Alessandro was originally slated to stay at Graybar in a reduced capacity through March 2013, but his role was terminated for cause in February, according to the lawsuit, due to the results of a hard drive analysis and reluctance to answer questions on the disputed Graybar documents.
D’Alessandro has asserted his termination of employment in February was wrongful and in breach of an alleged bridging agreement between Graybar and D’Alessandro in December, according to the lawsuit.
Graybar alleges D’Alessandro replaced his laptop’s hard drive with a damaged one or damaged his hard drive before returning it to Graybar on Dec. 20, 2012, at the demand of Graybar. The damaged hard drive rendered confidential, proprietary and trade secret business information irretrievable by Graybar, according to the lawsuit. Graybar also alleges that he downloaded information to a USB drive and subsequently destroyed it, and that he uploaded thousands of Graybar documents remotely to third-party servers, including box.net, accessed the documents and deleted the documents in late December.
The lawsuit alleges that D’Alessandro may have accessed some of these files while meeting with then-future employer Univar in November.
Graybar is asking D’Alessandro to disclose the whereabouts of all documents ever transferred by him to any server or media and to return all proprietary documents and information. Graybar alleges that D’Alessandro has repeatedly refused to respond to requests for the return of any hard drive, USB device and electronic or hard copy documents.
According to the lawsuit, in an email from March, D’Alessandro said via counsel he retained an external drive and a laptop; in the same email, according to court documents, he said his wife had inadvertently downloaded proprietary and confidential documents from Graybar onto an external hard drive.
Graybar is No. 5 on MDM list of the top 25 electrical distributors.