UPDATE: Rubicon fires employee at center of Waste Connections trade secret suit
UPDATE: Rubicon Global issued a statement that it has fired its national director of outside sales, Jonathan Dewitt. The decision was made following allegations that Dewitt downloaded thousands of pages of trade secrets from his former employer, Waste Connections, prior to his employement with Rubicon.
In the statement, Rubicon "strongly" denied knowledge of the alleged actions, yet terminated Dewitt "out of an abundance of caution."
"Data security is extremely important to us – and for our customers, for our hauler partners, and for our employees. We protect their data and respect the confidential information and intellectual property of our competitors and other companies in our industry. We take any potential risks to such security or the intellectual property of third parties very seriously, and we will continue defending Rubicon's actions in this matter," wrote a Rubicon spokesperson via email.
- Waste Connections' request for a temporary restraining order against Rubicon Global and national director of outside sales Jonathan Dewitt was granted by Judge Eric Dunaway in Georgia's Fulton County Superior Court on June 19. The order will remain in place until a full hearing is held on Waste Connections' request for an injunction.
- The order prohibits Dewitt or Rubicon from using any confidential information or trade secrets — including sales strategies, customer lists, customer agreement expiration dates, training materials, profit margins and multiple other items — until further notice.
- Dunaway's order also requires Dewitt to return any copies of this information, including two flash drives, as well as any work he created during his employment at Waste Connections subsidiary Progressive Waste Solutions. A forensic examination plan will also be developed, applying to both Dewitt and Rubicon. A spokesperson for Rubicon Global confirmed that the company believes Dewitt was hired appropriately and will continue to conduct his normal duties.
The June 13 complaint alleges that Dewitt, an employee at Progressive Waste Solutions in Louisiana since late 2011, downloaded thousands of pages of the company's trade secrets before resigning in March to go work for Rubicon in Georgia. Waste Connections also alleges that Rubicon hired Dewitt to gain access to confidential information and "undercut [its] pricing in order to steal customers and business" and replicate other company tactics. The complaint goes on to claim violation of Georgia's Trade Secrets Act, along with tortious interference, and requests an injunction.
Waste Connections continues to refrain from commenting on the case, though Rubicon issued a new statement claiming Dunaway's ruling as a positive outcome.
"While we do not comment on pending litigation, we are very pleased with the Court’s ruling and will continue to vigorously defend these allegations. Rubicon’s mission is to provide an entirely reimagined customer experience for waste and recycling services, all towards creating a future without landfills. We are innovating an antiquated industry in the process, and increasingly, we are encouraged by our progress," wrote a Rubicon spokesperson via email.
The company's promises of innovation have begun to draw more publicly critical and skeptical responses from industry executives in recent months. This has made them a target for other unrelated, pending litigation and is sure to attract further responses. Multiple industry executives and professionals are watching the outcome of this case, and any signs of it what may mean for Rubicon's future, very closely.
- Waste Dive Waste Connections sues Rubicon, alleging misappropriation of trade secrets
- Fulton County Superior Court Temporary Restraining Order