Secure Data Tech Sues Ex-Employee for Breach of Contract

On Thursday, Secure Data Technologies, Inc. sued a former employee for hacking the company’s email system and removing confidential and proprietary information. The Eastern District of Missouri lawsuit states seven claims for relief under various Missouri and Illinois business tort and computer fraud statutes.

According to the filing, Secure Data is an Illinois corporation, and an “infrastructure technology company, which provides clients with hardware, software, managed services and professional services in four areas: Collaboration, Data Center, Network and Security.” The defendants are Jamie Stephanie Guilford, individually, and Guilford Technologies, LLC, the company where she serves as CEO and registered agent.

The complaint states that Guilford was a “salaried Senior Consulting System Engineer,” who worked for the company from Jul. 9, 2018 to Feb. 23, 2020. Guilford supposedly signed a non-compete agreement when she was hired in 2018. Allegedly, part of her job was to “interface with secure data’s client base, to work with wireless, security and Data center design, set up and integration.”

In February 2020, Guilford purportedly “hacked into Secure Data’s communications system to review sensitive email exchanged among Secure Data’s management team.” According to the complaint, Secure Data received a security alert and investigated the matter. Allegedly, a review of the activity log showed that “Guilford had provided herself unapproved access to the mailboxes of CEO Dana Steffey, CFO Derek Herbison and employee Simonne Meszaros,” along with one other Secure Data employee.

Guilford was reportedly terminated from the company as a result of her improper conduct. As evidence, the plaintiff offers an alleged admission by Guilford stating that “she illegally hacked into Secure Data’s confidential emails,” attached to the complaint as an exhibit.

The plaintiff further contends that Guilford now works for Guilford Technologies, “a direct competitor of Secure Data, formed and maintained by Guilford to provide consultative, infrastructure technology services.” The complaint also states that Guilford improperly offered services to one of Secure Data’s lucrative clients, Tacony Corporation.

Allegedly, when conducting a daily review of Tacony’s infrastructure, a Secure Data employee noticed that “some information regarding Jamie Guilford, was added after Guilford’s departure from Secure Data.” This occurred in August, around the same time that “Secure Data became aware of a change in the relationship between secure Data and Tacony, which included a loss of expected revenue from the relationship.”

Secure Data accused Guilford of breaching their non-compete agreement in a number of ways, including appropriating Secure Data’s proprietary client information, specifically related to Tacony, forming a competing company and soliciting and contracting with Secure Data clients, using Secure Data’s confidential information to compete against it, and sharing the information with a competitor, Guilford Technologies LLC.

For the alleged transgressions, the plaintiff seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions “to prevent further or inevitable disclosure or use of the trade secrets Guilford misappropriated,” in addition to monetary damages.

The plaintiff is represented by Avigad Law, LLC.