In the latest of a series of lawsuits linked to a claimed theft of proprietary software by a competitor, Chicago bankruptcy law firm chief Peter Francis Geraci is seeking $1 million in damages from a former associate.
Filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court, the suit alleges that Kevin Chern, who last worked for Geraci’s firm in 1997, participated in a claimed conspiracy to allow the Legal Helpers bankruptcy firm to make use of Geraci’s software, the Cook County Record (http://cookcountyrecord.com/stories/510629987-geraci-alleges-rival-formerassociate-chern-aided-taking-of-proprietary-software) reports.
“By using … software owned by Geraci, Chern reduced substantially the development costs associated with creating the type of proprietary software necessary to operate a sophisticated consumer bankruptcy law practice in direct competition with Geraci, and saved himself and his former law [firm] in excess of $1 million in development costs that Geraci incurred,” the complaint says.
Chern had worked for Legal Helpers immediately after leaving Geraci’s employ, but he is now amanaging partner at another law firm. Other Geraci employees participated in the claimed software conspiracy, too, Geraci has alleged in prior litigation, the Record article reports. At least one federal lawsuit is still pending.
In addition to civil conspiracy, the suit against Chern assets causes of action for alleged breach of fiduciary duty, violation of the Illinois Trade Secrets Act and unjust enrichment.