Cargill sues former employee for breach of contract

(Reuters) - Global commodities trader Cargill Inc [CARG.UL] has sued a former employee, accusing him of stealing trade secrets before he joined rival JBS SA.

A logo is pictured on the building of Cargill International SA in Geneva August 4, 2009. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Privately held Cargill filed the case on Thursday in the U.S. District Court of Colorado, accusing Jason Kuan of breach of contract.(

Kuan resigned on Aug. 1 without prior notice.

Kuan had worked for Cargill’s Case Ready business, which is involved in processing and packaging meat for retailers.

He joined JBS, the world’s biggest beef producer in early August, after working for Cargill for about 20 years.

According to the lawsuit, the company found Kuan’s resignation suspicious and conducted a forensic analysis on Kuan’s laptop, which was owned by Cargill.

The analysis showed that Kuan “downloaded hundreds of highly confidential and proprietary Cargill Case Ready files to an external hard drive.”

It claims that the hard drive was not returned to the Minneapolis-based company upon Kuan’s resignation.

Kuan will lead JBS’ new stand-alone Case Ready Division, according to an announcement by JBS cited in the lawsuit.

“Kuan will inevitably disclose and use the valuable Cargill information in the course of his employment position with JBS because he is developing a Case Ready meat business for JBS; this is the same industry and the same type of position Kuan had for many years at Cargill,” the company said.

Neither Cargill nor JBS could immediately be reached for comment outside normal business hours.

Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in Bangalore; Editing by Lisa Shumaker