Destruction of confidential information

02 June 2016

An employer has successfully argued that its confidential information stored on computers and electronic devices of its ex-employee and their new employer should be destroyed.

Arthur J. Gallagher (UK) Ltd v Skriptchenko and others

An employer has successfully argued that its confidential information stored on computers and electronic devices of its ex-employee and their new employer should be destroyed.

Insurance brokerage Gallagher’s former employee Mr Skritptchenko, admitted that he had taken a client list from Gallagher. His new employer, Portsoken had used the list to approach hundreds of Gallagher’s clients. An inspection of electronic devices and computer systems confirmed the misuse.

Important points in the case included:

  • the defendants’ admission that they had taken and misused the confidential information, and they knew that what they were doing was wrong.
  • the ‘high degree of subterfuge’ involved in the use of Gallagher’s confidential information.
  • a lack of confidence in the defendants. The Judge said “...I am not satisfied that the defendants can be trusted to seek out and delete such material themselves, were they to retain it whether deliberately or inadvertently.”
  • the likelihood of Gallagher being able to establish at trial that there had been a breach of confidence.
  • that it would be the defendants’ IT experts, and not Gallagher’s, that would take delivery of the devices and computers and search for and delete the confidential information.
  • although the confidential material would be removed from the defendants’ devices, that information wouldn’t be irretrievably lost; copies of imaging would be retained.

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