A jury in Massachusetts has awarded $290,000 to a debt buyer who sued his former business partner, alleging the partner was stealing customer information to pursue his own venture.
Shawn Mulligan was awarded the money after he sued Jonathan Koop, his former partner in Elite Enterprise Services LLC. Mulligan alleged that Koop wanted to steal customer information to create his own competing company. Koop denied any wrongdoing.
The reason Koop started a separate company was to identify debtors that would be interested in suing collection agencies and selling those names to attorneys as a referral service, according to a copy of the complaint filed by Mulligan back in 2015.
Elite specialized in purchasing portfolios of bankrupt and deceased debts.
Koop accused Mulligan of closing down Elite and firing the company’s employees over his objections and that Mulligan blocked Koop’s access to the company’s bank accounts. It was only after Elite was shut down that Koop tried to start his own company, he claimed.
A jury took less than one day to deliberate following a six-day trial in finding for Mulligan. The jury determined that Koop breached his fiduciary duties to the company, misappropriated trade secrets/confidential information, and interfered with contractual relationships.
A lawyer for Koop indicated that her client would likely appeal the ruling.