Sep 28, 2015
MBG drops lawsuit against True Blue, former employee

The Michigan Blueberry Growers Association, also known as MBG Marketing, has dismissed its lawsuit against Brenda Reeves and her employer, True Blue Entities.

“After we determined that MBG had not suffered any economic damage resulting from the conduct outlined in our complaint, we were willing to resolve the litigation on the condition that the parties agree to the court orders that were entered,” according to a statement MBG sent to Fruit Growers News.

As part of the resolution, Reeves, a former MBG employee, must abide by the terms of her original agreement with MBG – an agreement she was already abiding by, said Shaun Willis, Reeves’ attorney.

MBG, a producer-owned cooperative and marketer of blueberries, filed the lawsuit in August 2014 in the U.S. District Court’s Western District of Michigan. Reeves was MBG’s manager of information services before she joined True Blue in September 2013. True Blue is a blueberry producer and processor owned by Dennis and Shelly Hartmann. Both MBG and True Blue are based in Grand Junction, Michigan.

MBG sued Reeves, its former employee, and True Blue, its competitor, for – among other things – computer fraud, tortious interference, breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment and conspiracy, according to the nine-count lawsuit. The suit claimed the defendants “willfully and maliciously” misappropriated trade secrets by taking MBG’s “entire business model, Produce Track Program, and grower information for their own benefit and to the detriment of MBG.” The defendants’ actions led to lost profits and damage to goodwill and reputation for MBG, according to the suit.

The allegations against Reeves were “false and inflated,” Willis said. Reeves did not utilize MBG’s data for any improper purpose, according to defense documents.

“I said at the time this case would bear no fruit, and that was a true statement,” Willis said after the suit was dropped.

Matt Milkovich

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