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A.M. Castle sues ex-employee, OSS

Keywords: Tags  A.M. Castle, Oilfield Steel Supply, OSS, Thomas Byrne, lawsuit, Fisher & Phillips, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — A.M. Castle & Co. has filed a lawsuit against a former employee and his new employer, accusing them of using confidential information gained from the distributor to compete against Castle in the oil patch.

"Defendant (Thomas) Byrne provided Oilfield Steel Supply LLC (OSS) with the customer contacts and sales data that he purloined from Castle prior to his resignation, and defendant Byrne and defendant OSS have been unfairly pursuing Castle’s customers based on the use of this stolen information," lawyers at Chicago-based Fisher & Phillips LLP wrote on behalf of the distributor in a filing in U.S. District Court in Illinois.

"We do take confidentiality obligations very seriously and we will vigorously pursue legal remedies when we believe that these obligations have been breached," an A.M. Castle spokesman said.

Byrne and OSS declined to comment.

Byrne worked for the Oak Brook, Ill.-based distributor as an inside sales representative, supplying the oil and gas industry in Houston with "pipe and materials," according to the filing.

He allegedly collected confidential information in the months prior to his April 30 departure from Castle by sending e-mails to "his home e-mail account and to an e-mail account that appears to be in his wife’s name," the filing said.

The information included Byrne’s largest customer accounts, e-mail addresses for contacts of roughly 50 of Castle’s customers and vendors, financial data for Castle covering the past three years, performance data on Castle’s sales personnel, lists of open transactions and monthly and daily sales reports, according to the filing.

The distributor is looking to prevent Byrne and OSS from using the documents, asking for their return and seeking an unspecified amount in damages due to the harm caused by OSS competing against Castle with the confidential information, the filing said.

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