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Medical Supply Company Files Lawsuit After Employee’s DepartureLock Icon

2 min read

A medical supply company has accused its former account executive who served northwest Arkansas of using confidential information to woo his previous customers to his new employer.

McKesson Medical-Surgical Inc., the nation’s largest distributor of wholesale medical and surgical supplies and equipment, based in Richmond, Virginia, filed a lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville, seeking to prevent Atlantic Medical Solutions LLC of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Robert Combs of Arkansas from drumming up business from his former clients.

The lawsuit said that Combs resigned from McKesson Medical-Surgical in August and later took a job with McKesson’s competitor, AMS. McKesson said Combs had a limited non-competition and non-solicit agreement in place. 

But at AMS, Combs allegedly worked in his former assigned territory and called on his former customers, said the 25-page lawsuit, filed by attorneys Brandon Cate and Philip Elmore of Quattlebaum Grooms & Tull’s Springdale office and Kevin Mahoney of Seyfarth Shaw’s Chicago office.

“Moreover, Combs used McKesson’s confidential pricing information (which he unlawfully retained) to unfairly compete against McKesson for those same customers,” the suit said. 

McKesson said that it also discovered that just before Combs’ resignation he “sent to his personal email dozens of documents containing McKesson’s highly confidential and trade secret information, not just about his former assigned customers but about McKesson’s nationwide operations.”

McKesson’s representatives also reported that beginning in mid-October at least half a dozen longtime customers, customers that had been Combs’ former clients, had not bought any products since around the time that Combs went to work for AMS, the lawsuit said. 

McKesson said it has already lost thousands of dollars in sales in accounts that had been handled by Combs. And it stands to “lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual sales in those accounts,” the suit said.

McKesson is suing Combs for breach of contract. It also is suing AMS and Combs for violation of the Arkansas Trade Secrets Act and interference with McKesson’s business relationship with its customers. McKesson is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

McKesson also wants to block Combs and AMS from disclosing any of McKesson’s trade secret information and to prevent Combs from competing for McKesson’s customers that were in his former territory.

Combs declined to comment and AMS didn’t return a call for comment. 

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