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Ex-Harsco exec says US wrong country to try suit

Keywords: Tags  Harsco, Edw. C. Levy Co., Clyde Kirkwood, lawsuit, MultiServ Group, dismissal motion, United Kingdom, trade secrets unfair competition

PITTSBURGH — A judge in Harsco Corp.’s trade secrets violation lawsuit is considering the defendants’ claim that the dispute would be more fitting for a courtroom in England rather than the United States.

The Camp Hill, Pa.-based mill service provider has accused Clyde Kirkwood of Mechanicsburg, Pa., and Dearborn, Mich.-based Edw. C. Levy Co. of violating the Pennsylvania Trade Secrets Act and unfair competition (, July 3).

An attorney representing Levy and Kirkwood suggests that Kirkwood’s employment agreement is with MultiServ Group Ltd., which is an English affiliate of Harsco. Kirkwood is bound by U.K. law and a domestic court is outside the proper jurisdiction to hear the dispute, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania.

The defendants are asking that the Kirkwood matter be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, claiming the laws of England and Wales are a more suitable place for a lawsuit against both parties, according to the filing.

Kirkwood resigned from Harsco June 3 after 23 years with the company, where he held positions that include chief technology officer and vice president of commercial in the metals and minerals division. Harsco alleges that Kirkwood signed an employment agreement with Levy but remained at Harsco to benefit his new employer.

If the request to move the litigation to the United Kingdom is not granted, Levy has asked the court to transfer the proceedings to a Michigan district court because that is where Edw.C. Levy Co. is based.

The judge in the case has agreed to allow Harsco to conduct limited jurisdictional discovery in advance of responding to the defendants’ motion.

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