When the former president of Move Inc., Errol Samuelson, left for the rival real estate database Zillow in 2014, it erupted into a $2 billion trade-theft case. Move accused Samuelson of breach of contract, fiduciary duty and misappropriation of trade secrets. And this week in court, he claimed a health condition led to his destroying evidence from work computers.
Samuelson and another executive are accused of deleting e-mails, smashing a hard drive and wiping computers clean, according to the New York Post. But in a court hearing this week, Samuelson claimed that he deleted documents because he could be at risk of developing a rare and terminal hereditary health condition and that he did not want his medical history revealed.
Samuelson told the court that his work computer also held other personal health and financial information that he wished to keep private.
Move and the National Association of Realtors originally filed the lawsuit in Washington state court in March 2014, alleging that Samuelson and another former executive, Curt Beardsley, conspired to steal trade secrets from the company before decamping to Zillow. But Samuelson and Beardsley left for Zillow within 12 days of each other.
Beardsley testified that he destroyed a hard drive once connected to Move’s internal network by smashing it against a wall in moment of frustration.
Move says that Samuelson destroyed evidence that is crucial to its case and wants Zillow sanctioned. The hearing in the suit will resume on April 25. [NYP] –Christopher Cameron