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Seafood Companies Settle Corporate Espionage Suit

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on April 01, 2019 3:21 PM

For a spy story, this case had an anti-climatic ending. The parties settled.

But it started with claims of corporate espionage between two seafood companies that rattled an industry. National Fish & Seafood said its former employee stole confidential recipes, processing and customer information.

The worker, a long-time employee, allegedly used the company's own equipment to take the information to Tampa Bay Fisheries. Yes, it was also a fish story.

Espionage Case

A federal judge dismissed the case after the parties announced a settlement of the espionage claims. Of course, the agreement was confidential.

But the case attracted attention while it lasted, partly because National Fish processes and distributes more than 35 million pounds of seafood annually. Kathleen A. Scanlon, who had worked for the company for 23 years, was in charge of research and development and quality control.

According to the complaint, Scanlon took more than a few fish when she left the company in 2018. She allegedly took "a litany of trade secrets."

The plot thickened after the former president of the company was convicted of tax fraud. Meanwhile, it turned out that the parties had previously discussed a merger.

Fish Story

The Gloucester Times followed the espionage case from the beginning.

It was set for trial last November, but then the court pushed it back. The newspaper reported that it slowed the momentum of the "stolen fish secrets case."

Secretly, the parties were working towards a settlement. Now the real fish secrets may never be known.

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