MMR accuses firm started by former employee of stealing trade secrets

Baton Rouge’s MMR Constructors is suing Gonzales-based Infrastructure Solutions Group, alleging “an orchestrated effort by ISG to steal MMR’s trade secrets and confidential business information.”

ISG denies the accusation, noting that the employees at issue were not subject to noncompete agreements.

“MMR has not taken substantial care to keep its alleged confidential business information secret,” ISG says in a federal court filing.

MMR says ISG “poached” Kasey Kraft, who on his last day of employment last year was caught “attempting to transfer a significant amount of MMR’s trade secrets to an external storage device.” MMR’s filing alleges Kraft was able to retain the information, “allowing ISG to receive a highly valuable, yet unfair, competitive advantage.”

MMR also claims former employee David Heroman plugged in at least 14 external storage devices just prior to his resignation last year and transferred almost 1,500 files, then tried to hide his tracks by returning four of the devices with much of the evidence deleted.

ISG says it didn’t poach anyone. When a former MMR employee started the firm, others reached out looking for work, the company says, adding that “MMR was hemorrhaging from employee resignations as over 75 employees resigned from MMR in the past year,” though ISG hired “only a handful.”

ISG says Heroman was advised not to take any documents with him and ISG “has not unjustly profited due to any alleged trade secrets.” For the only project that both ISG and MMR placed bids on, MMR won the bid and was awarded the contract, ISG says.

“MMR’s failure to implement non-competition or non-solicitation agreements is the real issue here, and it seeks to back door such restrictions by use of this lawsuit to intimidate not only ISG and its former employees, but its current employees as well,” ISG states.

The parties are currently in the midst of discovery and a trial date has not been set.

MMR Group, founded by James “Pepper” Rutland, ranked fifth on Business Report’s most recent list of the Capital Region’s highest-grossing companies, with $967 million in reported revenue.