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Hershey Sues Former Executive for Alleged Trade Secret Theft

Jan. 28, 2020, 4:01 PM

Hershey Co. accused the former president of its Amplify healthy snack brand of breaching his contract by stealing trade secrets before leaving to join Kind LLC.

Doug Behrens “orchestrated a secret plan to steal some of Hershey’s most sensitive trade secret and confidential business information and hide his tracks after doing so,” according to the complaint filed Monday in Pennsylvania federal court.

Hershey says Behrens knew he was moving to Kind when he resigned, but “professed to be unsure about his future plans even when Hershey directly asked him what those plans were and if they involved KIND.”

Between his resignation and last day of employment, Hershey says Behrens sent over 100 Hershey documents to his personal email address. The alleged trade secrets include multiple PowerPoint presentations concerning company strategy, a list of Amplify customers and their preferences, and a “comprehensive snapshot” of an important Amplify customer’s corporate organization chart.

“What is worse, Hershey does not know the full extent of Behrens’ misconduct and what other information he may have taken,” the complaint says, because he allegedly wiped all the data from his company laptop.

Hershey also says that Behrens failed to pay back a $250,000 signing bonus and his shares in the company that he supposedly owed after breaching his contract.

Cause of Action: Breach of contract.

Relief: Repayment of the signing bonus and his 2,392 shares of Hershey stock, attorneys’ fees.

Response: Kind didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Attorneys: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP represents Hershey.

The case is Hershey Co. v. Behrens, M.D. Pa., No. 1:20-cv-00140, complaint filed 1/27/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Blake Brittain in Washington at bbrittain@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Steven Patrick at spatrick@bloomberglaw.com

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