Von Roll, former employees agree to settle court cases

Von Roll USA has settled its lawsuit against a group of former employees whom it accused of stealing

Categories: Business

Von Roll USA has settled its lawsuit against a group of former employees whom it accused of stealing proprietary information in a bid to launch a rival company.

In Albany on Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Gary Sharpe dismissed the suit Von Roll filed in December against former executive Jack Craig and his son, Jason.

It also named as defendants three other employees at the electrical insulation manufacturer’s Rotterdam facility.

“The case was settled and the parties exchanged releases and dropped their claims against each other,” said Richard Weisz, who represented defendants Jack Craig, Brad Archambeau, Linda Belcher and Brett Portwood.

The Swiss-based Von Roll alleged Jack Craig and his son had begun hatching plans for a rival company even before he retired. Craig, of Georgia, resigned in July 2006 as Von Roll’s chief executive officer for Western Hemisphere operations.

The manufacturer’s suspicions were reinforced when Jason Craig last November allegedly e-mailed to his father a 22-page report containing detailed product specifications. Three days after Von Roll fired Jason Craig for that action, the three other employees allegedly took with them “massive quantities of data” stored in desktop computers and servers in Rotterdam.

Weisz would not say whether the settlement prohibits Jack Craig from launching the rival business, Craig Wire Products.

In a statement Friday, Von Roll said: “All claims and counterclaims in the case have now been settled and the lawsuit will be discontinued in its entirety. In connection with the settlement, Brad Archambeau is leaving the employer Craig Wire, and will not be an employee of Craig Wire for at least the next three years.”

In a countersuit, Portwood, Belcher and Archambeau said a worldwide management shakeup left them feeling alienated and prompted them to discuss a business venture with Jack Craig. The shakeup allegedly came in the aftermath of the Von Finck family “taking over” the company’s board of directors.

Along with replacing its leadership, Von Roll also put on hold plans to move its headquarters to Rotterdam and create 50 new jobs over five years.

It already employs about 100 at its 22-acre West Campbell Road operation.

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