• October 23, 2014

Light dispersion of a mercury-vapor lamp with a prism made of flint glassCredit the Rochester Post-Bulletin reporter Jeff Kiger for this story from Olmsted County (and thanks ELG for cluing me in!).

Dr. Franklin Cockerill got all choked up and teary about leaving Mayo Collaborative Services (“MCS”) after 30 years with Mayo and talked about retiring to help his elderly mother manage the family business in Nebraska.

The next day, Dr. Cockerill started work with Quest Diagnostics, Inc., a direct competitor of MCS. “I will be turning my attention to my family’s businesses and philanthropic efforts in my home state of Nebraska,” the doctor told his beloved MCS colleagues. Quest is headquartered in New Jersey, not Nebraska. It is not a Cockerill family business. It does not appear that Dr. Cockerill’s involvement with Quest is philanthropic.

This is a bad way to start off defending a lawsuit in which you are sued for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and theft of trade secrets. Assuming the allegations in the complaint are true, you start the case with an undeniable act of intentional dishonesty.

Query whether Dr. Cockerill and/or Quest sought legal advice as they planned the doctor’s “onboarding.” If so, did they disobey their lawyers’ advice or did they get awful advice?

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