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Consultancy TrinityP3 wins court case against staffer who took confidential documents

Marketing consultancy TrinityP3 has won a case against a former consultant who left the company with a laptop loaded with thousands of confidential documents and used it to set up her own business.

trinity-p3-screenerThe Supreme Court of Victoria has ordered costs or part of the costs be awarded on an indemnity basis after it ruled Jodi Randall and her consultancy WIP had retained thousands of documents used in her work as a senior consultant with TrinityP3.

In the judgement the court described her conduct as “inexcusable”.

Jodi Randall ordered to pay costs to Trinity P3 after being found to have taken confidential documents from her former employer

Jodi Randall was ordered to pay costs to TrinityP3 after being found to have taken confidential documents from her former employer

Randall left the company after three years in January 2015 and soon afterwards TrinityP3 became aware she had retained the confidential documents, and requested their return.

However, Randall denied she had the documents or IP, forcing Trinity to take legal action and use a document recovery specialist to scan the laptop.

“It is clear from the evidence at trial that WIP and Randall must have known that they had retained many thousands of Trinity’s documents which formed part of Trinity’s ‘Confidential Information’, yet did not respond to this letter and, as a result, Trinity has been put to the trouble and expense of protracted litigation in order to obtain necessary relief,” Justice Clyde Croft said.

“Moreover, not only did WIP and Randall then falsely deny, in their defence to the litigation, having retained Trinity’s ‘Confidential Information’, but they raised a counterclaim by which they sought to extract damages from Trinity in relation to the very same allegation – an allegation which they must have known to in fact be true.”

The court found that Trinity had made a “genuine and reasonable offer” to resolve the case with each bearing their own costs, in November last year, but Randall knocked it back.

Randall launched the counter-claim against Trinity for defamation after the agency informed a number of its clients that their confidential information may have been compromised. The counter-claim was also rejected by the court.

After the search of documents the court noted that “the writing was well and truly on the wall for WIP and Randall”.

It also noted that Randall had failed to meaningfully participate in the proceedings at all since March 22, 2016.

Woolley told Mumbrella the company launched the action to protect its clients’ data and the intellectual property of the agency.

“We became aware of it within a month of her leaving,” Woolley said.

“We have tried all the way along the line to settle this, but the other party was unwilling to come to an agreement at any time.

“With all of our clients we either enter into non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements or it’s implicit in the work that we are doing and the information they provided us.

“The independent report comparing our servers with her laptop showed that there was over 170,000 files in common and many of those files had been provided to her by our clients in her duty and role at Trinity P3.”

The scale of costs is yet to be determined.

Attempts by Mumbrella to contact Randall were unsuccessful.

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