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Warsaw firm’s suit: Ex-worker broke deal

January 4, 2019

A Warsaw medical device company is suing a former high-ranking employee, alleging he took with him confidential information and used trade secrets against it when he took a job with a rival company in the same city.

OrthoPediatrics Corp. terminated Robert von Seggern in January 2017, and he signed an agreement prohibiting him from “engaging in certain competitive activities” for a year after leaving.

WishBone Medical Inc. : a similar company about four miles from OrthoPediatrics that also is named as a defendant : quickly hired him as its chief commercialization officer and by Jan. 23, von Seggern’s former employer was accusing him of violating the agreement.

A letter from OrthoPediatrics attorney Andrew Gruber says von Seggern’s hiring violates the agreement. He also violated the deal when he tried to get an OrthoPediatrics employee to work for WishBone, the letter states.

The lawsuit accuses von Seggern of trying to hide his employment with WishBone, stating “agents of OrthoPediatrics” saw him parking in a lot near the business and wearing a jacket with a hood to avoid detection.

Kim Ridings, WishBone director of human resources and customer service, said von Seggern is the company’s vice president.

A request filed last month by OrthoPediatrics asks a judge to sanction von Seggern and WishBone : which opened in January 2017 : for failing to turn over evidence, hiding or destroying evidence and “making misstatements.”

“OrthoPediatrics welcomes legitimate competition because that means more kids with pediatric orthopedic conditions will have greater opportunities to be helped,” Daniel Gerritzen, OrthoPediatrics vice president and general counsel, said in a statement. “However, we will not tolerate individuals or entities misappropriating our property, in part, to leapfrog years of design and testing work and avoid the significant monetary expense of bringing competing products to market.”

WishBone fought back Thursday, calling its rival company “anti-competitive and cowardly.”

“Both the motion and OrthoPediatrics’ case as a whole are without merit and OP knows it,” the company said in a statement. “OP is merely trying to use this litigation to bully WishBone Medical by trying to outspend us on lawyers. We have new, innovative, and better orthopedic products for kids. We know it; they know it. It’s really that simple.”

A lawyer for von Seggern did not return a message Thursday from The Journal Gazette.

mleblanc@jg.net

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