Cargill loses bid to stop ex-manager from working for rival

(Dave Bedard photo)

Reuters — A federal judge has denied Cargill’s attempt to block a former executive of its meat-packing unit from working for rival JBS to prevent the potential loss of trade secrets.

U.S. Judge Raymond Moore in Denver ruled on Monday that although Jason Kuan “did once have specific knowledge of Cargill’s trade secrets, his knowledge now is generalized.”

In August, privately-held Cargill sued Kuan, who led a meat unit in Canada, alleging that he copied hundreds of confidential company documents after he received a job offer from JBS in Colorado.

Cargill, one of the top U.S. meat producers, did not dispute that Kuan returned the documents, according to a court filing.

The company had asked Moore to issue a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction forbidding Kuan from working for a competitor for one year.

“A temporary restraining order is still in effect to prevent Mr. Kuan from disclosing or using Cargill’s confidential information and trade secrets, and Cargill will continue to advocate for protection of its confidential information and trade secrets,” Cargill spokesman Mike Martin said.

A lawyer for Kuan could not immediately be reached for comment.

— Tom Polansek reports on agriculture and ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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