Company asks court to make former employee return confidential information

Tech group claims information was wrongfully taken

The High Court heard the defendant had been employed in a senior role by the group since 2009 after it acquired a company co-owned by him. Photograph: iStock

The High Court heard the defendant had been employed in a senior role by the group since 2009 after it acquired a company co-owned by him. Photograph: iStock

 

A digital services provider has launched High Court proceedings seeking the return of confidential information it claims was wrongfully taken by a former employee.

The action has been brought by Emergn Global Holdings Limited and Emergn Limited, which are part of a group that provides and designs various digital products, including software, against Brian Hanly who had been employed by Emergn Global.

Mr Hanly denies any wrongdoing.

The High Court heard the defendant had been employed in a senior role by the group since 2009 after it acquired a company co-owned by him.

The plaintiffs’ claim that since 2020 Mr Hanly, had been on an annual salary of €232,000 plus a bonus incentive of up to 65 per cent of his salary.

He was also a director of three companies in the group as well as having shares in Emergn Global.

It is claimed that earlier this year Mr Hanly’s employment was terminated, and he was placed on gardening leave for a period of three months.

It is claimed that during the last few days of his employment, before his access to his employer’s IT systems was discontinued, Mr Hanly of Waterville, Castlebar, Co Mayo sent a series of emails from his work account to a personal account.

It is alleged that the emails included confidential and sensitive financial information that belongs to the plaintiff group, and he was not entitled to take, download, or make any use of it.

He was written to by the plaintiffs and asked to deliver up the material and identify what use he has made of the information.

Denied wrongdoing

The court heard that Mr Hanly’s solicitors have denied any wrongdoing by him and that he has not used any confidential information for any purpose other than in connection with his employment with the group.

However, the plaintiffs say Mr Hanly has not given any of undertakings sought by them in relation to the material.

Arising out of that the plaintiffs, concerned about the retention of the information and any possible future misuse of that material, have brought High Court injunction proceedings against Mr Hanly.

In its action the company seeks various orders from the court including an injunction requiring the defendant not make use of all the confidential information he has in his possession and to deliver it up to the plaintiff companies.

The matter came before Mr Justice Senan Allen on Wednesday.

Following an application by Michael Howard SC, with Lorna Lynch BL, for the plaintiffs, the judge on an ex-parte basis granted the company permission to serve short notice of the proceedings on the defendant.

The matter will return before the court later this week.