Canadian shipbuilders set for court room clash

Jared Newcombe Jared Newcombe

FEBRUARY 19, 2014 — Chantier Davie Canada Inc., Lévis, Quebec, has been drawn into a legal dispute involving its Chief Operational Officer, Jared Newcombe (left), and his former employer, Irving Shipbuilding, Inc., Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he had been a senior project manager.

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. says that it has filed a motion to amend a statement of claim with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia to add Chantier Davie Canada Inc. (the Davie shipyard) as a co-defendant in a legal action against Mr. Newcombe.

In a release distributed via Canada Newswire, Irving Shipbuilding says:

Irving Shipbuilding's amended Statement of Claim states that Newcombe conveyed confidential business and proprietary information of Irving Shipbuilding to Davie and that Davie forwarded this material internally to other employees. This is contrary to written communications from the CEO of Davie and a lawyer for Davie, as well as a sworn declaration of Jared Newcombe who left Irving Shipbuilding to work at Davie in April 2013 according to the amended action.

Davie had previously denied receiving Irving's confidential or proprietary information. In correspondence to Irving Shipbuilding, dated August 15, 2013, Davie CEO denied any wrongdoing stating "we share your disapproval of employees who breach their obligations to their former employers, especially by passing such employer's confidential information to their current employer".

Irving Shipbuilding's amended Statement of Claim further states that Newcombe gave some or all of the misappropriated Irving Shipbuilding business documents and information to other Davie employees and that, at the time of writing the August 15, 2013 letter to Irving Shipbuilding, the CEO had already received and forwarded the information to Davie's Chief Financial Officer.

Irving Shipbuilding believes this action by Newcombe and by the Davie CEO is contrary to the sworn declaration of Newcombe and the representation by legal counsel for Davie on September 16, 2013 denying that Davie had received Irving Shipbuilding's confidential business or proprietary information from Newcombe.

The terms of Newcombe's employment with Irving Shipbuilding included that following the termination of his contract of employment - by voluntary resignation or otherwise - he was not to use or disclose any of Irving's confidential information.

Irving Shipbuilding is arguing in the amended Statement of Claim that, as a result of Davie being a competitor, any possession or use of the misappropriated Irving Shipbuilding documents is unfair and unjust. Irving Shipbuilding is seeking the return of its information and damages.

Chantier Davie Canada responded with the following Canada Newswire release:

Chantier Davie Canada Inc. ("Davie") categorically denies all of the allegations made against it by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. ("Irving") in the proposed amendments to its Statement of Claim, filed with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on February 17, 2014. Davie intends to rigorously defend against these allegations, if and when Irving is granted an order adding Davie as a defendant. Davie is confident that the court will find in its favour.

In the meantime, we continue to deliver on our contracts and maintain focus on strengthening Canada's shipbuilding sector.

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