As we told you exclusively in July, Cartier and its parent company, Richemont, have filed a major lawsuit against former Cartier employee, Melissa Pordy for allegedly plotting to misappropriate Cartier’s trade secrets after joining Tiffany & Co., and attempting to lure a current Cartier employee to a similar position at Tiffany & Co., as well. Well, not surprisingly, Pordy, who began working for Cartier in 2008 in New York, most recently holding a title of Director of Off-Line Advertising, is denying the allegations. In fact, she has filed to have the lawsuit dismissed, alleging not only that she didn't do anything wrong but that the Southern District of New York court lacks jurisdiction over the claims against her, including breach of contract, conversion and fraud.
According to the Paris-based jewelry brand's complaint, upon learning in early March that her position was being eliminated as a result of reorganization of Cartier’s Advertising Department, Pordy interviewed and accepted a job in Tiffany & Co.’s advertising department. Cartier also alleges that Pordy violated a number of the provisions of her contract in plotting a digital heist of Cartier's trade secret information. She reportedly instructed her assistant to download confidential information from Pordy’s computer and Cartier’s network to nearly a dozen thumb drives, and took her Richemont-issued work cellphone (and all of its contents) with her to Tiffany & Co.
In her motion to dismiss, which was filed late last week, Pordy denies the allegations set forth in Richemont's complaint, and states that she was, in fact, permitted to access the information at issue (the info. downloaded to the thumb drives, etc.) during the period in question. In addition to denying any wrongdoing on her part, she claims that the case should be dismissed because the New York federal court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the claims, stating: “Simply put, plaintiffs have failed to plead a cognizable claim that would invoke this court’s federal question jurisdiction under the CFAA [the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act]. Plaintiffs have similarly failed to allege facts sufficient to state a claim for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of duty of loyalty and tortious interference with contractual relations."
Law360 reached out to Jonathan Sack of Sack & Sack Esqs., an attorney for Pordy, last week, who said that the suit is “preposterous,” and that the claims were manufactured in an attempt to deprive Pordy of the "significant" severance package she was offered upon termination. Sack claims "Richemont was upset to hear that she accepted a different job so quickly," and filed the suit in response. “This whole thing is a sham and a bad faith effort to deny her a severance package. The underlying claim is preposterous because you can’t attempt to take confidential information that you otherwise have access to,” Sack said.
Sack's explanation for why Cartier filed suit seems like a bit of a stretch, but more to come …