Staffing Agency Sues Former Executive for Alleged Misappropriation of Trade Secrets

Peoplelink-LogoSouth Bend, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Peoplelink, LLC (“Peoplelink”), a Delaware Corporation, filed suit in the  Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Kelly Boutell, a former employee of Peoplelink, infringed their rights under the  Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1832, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) 18 U.S.C. § 1030 and committed Breach of Contract.

According to the Complaint, Boutell was employed by Peoplelink for over 20 years in various roles such as Certified Sales Trainer, Vice President of Fulfillment, and Senior Regional Vice President. Boutell was one of two Certified Sales Trainers. She conducted two-to-three annual sales training sessions for all of Peoplink business entities and functioned informally as a sales leader for Peoplelink’s entire footprint.

By the end of her employment, Boutell occupied a key executive role wherein she had access to virtually all of Peoplelink’s confidential, proprietary, and trade secret information. Peoplelink eliminated Boutell’s position in November of 2021 due to budgetary reasons. As part of a severance package, Boutell agreed to a narrowly tailored customer non-solicit provision and a promise not to misuse Peoplelink’s confidential information.

Apparently, after being discharged, Boutell accessed Peoplelink’s password protected Zip Recruiter and Apple ID accounts and changed the passwords, preventing Peoplelink access to their cloud-based storage account.  According to the Complaint, Boutell is believed to retain Peoplelink’s confidential proprietary materials, in violation of her Severance Package Agreement. She has since joined Paramount Staffing as its Vice President of Recruiting and Fulfillment.  Paramount is Peoplelink’s primary competitor in the staffing industry.

Such as, Peoplelink has requested Boutell be temporarily, preliminarily, and permanently enjoined from the following:

  • Working with former or current Peoplelink customers;
  • Disclosing or using Peoplelink trade secrets;
  • Directly or indirectly soliciting former or current Peoplelink customers;
  • Disclosing or using any Confidential Information;
  • Modifying or accessing the iCloud account associated with Peoplelink; and
  • Accessing any other Peoplelink computers or networks.

The Plaintiff is seeking compensatory damages, punitive/exemplary damages, attorney’s fees, costs and disbursements of this action, and pre-judgment and post-judgment interest according to the Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act.

The case was assigned to Judge Damon R. Leichty and Magistrate Judge Michael G. Gotsch, Sr. in the Northern District of Indiana and assigned Case No. 3:22-cv-00197-DRL-MGG.


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