Dufossat Capital: Court Finds Deliberate Violation of Duty to Preserve Information in Trade Secrets Dispute

HOUSTON, Oct. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — A federal court affirmed the findings of the magistrate judge who ruled that Pallavi Ghayalod acted in concert with her husband, Manoj Ghayalod, to “obstruct the discovery process” in ongoing trade secrets litigation that Manaj Ghayalod initiated against Dufossat Capital and its owner, Ashton Soniat, a company in which Manoj owned a financial interest.

The ruling which also included Arya Risk Management Systems, Pvt. Ltd., an India-based company owned by Pallavi, noted that the spoliation of evidence “severely prejudiced” Dufossat Capital.

In the underlying litigation, Dufossat Capital countered the Plaintiffs’ lawsuits by asserting that Manoj and Pallavi, conspired to misappropriate Dufossat Capital’s trade secrets. In affirming the magistrate judge’s rulings, the court stated that Pallavi and Arya’s “spoliation of the EMC Storage Unit was intentional” and that Manoj “intentionally deleted the four laptop computers’ hard drives for the purpose of depriving Defendants of the information stored thereon.”

According to the court order, Manoj, Pallavi, and Arya, “had a duty to preserve information, including the log files … and the files on the laptops, and that [Manoj, Pallavi and Arya] deliberately violated that duty.” The court affirmed the magistrate judge’s findings that “Plaintiffs’ actions were egregious and that no lesser sanctions would deter their bad conduct.” In her ruling, the magistrate judge found that Pallavi has “attempted to tamper with witnesses…”

As a result of the prejudice caused to Dufossat Capital, the court affirmed the magistrate judge’s decision to strike certain claims or grant adverse inferences related to claims filed by Arya. The court also affirmed the decision to grant default judgments or adverse inferences in favor of Dufossat Capital and against Manoj, Pallavi and Arya related to certain claims that Dufossat filed against the Plaintiffs.

The court also found that the magistrate judge’s “award of expert and attorney’s fees are neither clearly erroneous nor contrary to law.” Mediation of the case which was ordered by the court is scheduled to occur on Oct. 23, 2019.

Randall M. Foret, of the Law Office of Randall Foret, in Houston; Michael Wynne, of Gregor Cassidy Wynne, PLLC, in Houston; and Robert Lemus, of Hughes Arrell Kinchen LLP, in Houston, represent Dufossat Capital Puerto Rico, LLC; Dufossat Capital, LP; Dufossat Capital I, LLC; Dufossat Capital GP, LLC, and company founder Ashton Soniat.

The case is “Arya Risk Management Systems, Pvt. Ltd. v. Dufossat Capital Puerto Rico, LLC, et al.,” Case 4:16-cv-03595 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.

CONTACT: Erin Powers, Powers MediaWorks LLC, for Gregor Cassidy Wynne, PLLC, 281.703.6000 or info@powersmediaworks.com.

SOURCE Dufossat Capital

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