BATAVIA, Illinois, September 13, 2017 – wedi Corp. (“wedi”), the manufacturer of wedi® Building Panels and shower floor elements used in the construction of waterproof shower systems and other tiled wet rooms, announced that certain arbitration proceedings commenced in July 2015 in Chicago, Illinois, against Brian Wright (“Wright”), a former wedi regional sales representative, and his company Sound Product Sales L.L.C. (“SPS”) have concluded. The arbitrator found that Wright breached his confidentiality agreement prohibiting him from disclosing or using wedi’s confidential information without wedi’s permission. Wright’s contract with wedi appointing him as wedi’s regional sales manager and his and SPS’s contract appointing them as wedi’s sales agent in the Pacific Northwest both contained confidentiality provisions. Wright was found to have improperly disclosed wedi’s confidential information to wedi’s competitors before resigning in September 2014.
“I thought I could trust him,” said Bastian Lohmann, wedi’s Vice President Sales & Marketing and Wright’s former boss. “Not just because of his contract with wedi, but because I considered him a friend and believed him to be a loyal member of our team.” Mr. Lohmann explained: “I had no idea that Brian was taking confidential information we shared with him regarding such sensitive matters as wedi’s sales figures, marketing budgets, product mix and business strategy, and disclosing it to our competitors for several years before he left wedi, sometimes within minutes of receiving it from me. Brian admitted knowing in the arbitration that the information he was disclosing was confidential to wedi and that he would have been fired had we known about it, but he did it anyway to advance his own interests in competing directly against us.”
Mr. Lohmann added: “Brian is currently selling product made in China and imported into the United States by the same people he shared our confidential information with while he was employed as our sales agent. Proving that he breached his obligations of confidentiality to wedi in his efforts to help wedi’s competitors was important to us in our efforts to protect against the disclosure of our business secrets and resulting unfair and unethical competition. With wedi’s first US manufacturing plant in Batavia, Illinois, starting to produce this year, and with the addition of more than 50 new employees dedicated to our mission, our commitment to defend our investments and our business against unfair competition from China or anywhere else is only strengthened. We are hopeful that justice will be done in our remaining litigation against Brian Wright and his associates.”
wedi currently has claims pending against Seattle Glass Block, Inc., a former wedi sales agent and distributor owned by Wright, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and misappropriation of trade secrets. wedi also has claims pending in federal court in Washington against Hydroblok International Ltd. (“Hydroblok”) alleging tortious interference with contract, aiding and abetting fiduciary duty, conspiracy and misappropriation of trade secrets, and claims against Hydroblok, Wright and Hydroblok-USA LLC (another Wright-owned company) for violations of the Lanham Act based on allegations of false or misleading statements in their advertising, violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act, and tortious interference with wedi’s contractual and business relationships with its customers and potential customers.
Eva Bullington ([email protected])