American Chung Nam wins $18 million in trade-secret court case

American Chung Nam wins $18 million in trade-secret court case

By Jake Thomas, Resource Recycling

America Chung Nam (ACN), the largest exporter of recovered paper from the U.S., has won a court case against competitor Cycle Link, securing more than $18 million in damages for trade secret misappropriation, unfair competition and breach of contract.

According to a statement from attorneys representing ACN, in 2010, Cycle Link hired two former ACN employees, Tony Chenh, the company's former senior logistics executive, and Jasmine Chung, a senior waste paper buyer at the company. These former employees, and others at Cycle Link, began contacting ACN's suppliers.

In 2011, ACN sued Cycle Link and its former employees for misappropriation of trade secrets and unfair competition. ACN also sued its former employees for breaching their employment agreements.

On Jan. 31, 2013, after a four-week trial in Los Angeles Superior Court, a jury unanimously found that Cycle Link engaged in unfair competition and Chenh and Chung had breached their contract with ACN. The jury also found that Cycle Link and the two former employees of ACN misappropriated its trade secrets. Additionally, the jury also found that Cycle Link, Chenh and Chung's misappropriation of trade secrets was "willful and malicious."

The jury awarded ACN more than $18 million in punitive damages. ACN will also be seeking attorney's fees and costs.

Attorneys for Cycle Link did not return calls seeking comment. Court documents show that Cycle Link is raising objections to the wording of the judgment, preventing it from being entered. ACN expects the issue to be resolved soon, and is unsure if Cycle Link will appeal.

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