A circuit judge in Jacksonville, Florida, issued a temporary injunction Thursday that won’t allow sports apparel company ’47 Brand to use information that is alleged to have been stolen from rival company Fanatics.
By virtue of Fanatics’ acquisition of VF Licensed Sports Group in April 2017, Brad Leinbach became a Fanatics employee responsible for managing contract printing, which included the overseeing of the so-called hot market business, in which merchandisers and licensees quickly capitalize on a teams’ title wins. But soon after, Leinbach began talking to competitor ’47 Brand about a similar job, according to Judge Karen K. Cole’s injunction order.
Before he resigned from Fanatics to take that job, he brazenly asked for a flash drive from the Fanatics human resources director. He used that drive, the judge writes in her decision, to transfer privileged, confidential and protected information such as 2,113 Excel spreadsheets, 44 Fanatics industry presentations and an additional 1,800 documents. Among those was a master vendor spreadsheet with contact information and printer information to best facilitate the execution of a hot market event in a certain area.
Cole noted that while Leinbach admitted he took the documents, he never offered to return them.
Leinbach is also charged with “knowingly and willfully” breaching his non-disclosure, non-compete and non-solicit agreements with Fanatics. His new supervisor at ’47 Brand joked by text, as found during trial discovery, that he was going to throw the non-compete document in his fire pit that night.
Through the injunction, Cole is requiring that the documents be returned, making sure ’47 Brand has no access to the information in the immediate future, and orders that Leinbach stop working with the company.
A spokesman for Fanatics said the company does not comment on pending litigation. A spokesperson for ’47 Brand could not immediately be reached.