EMC Sues Former Employee

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-10-11

Data storage giant EMC Corp. is suing a former employee in an attempt to enforce a non-compete agreement that is signed by all EMC employees.

The Hopkinton, Mass., company on Wednesday filed suit against Doron Kempel, CEO and chairman of start-up SANgate Systems Inc., asking the court to issue an injunction spiking Kempels employment at SANgate for 12 months.

In the suit, filed in Massachusetts state court, EMC also is seeking unspecified monetary damages.

Kempel, who left EMC as vice president and general manager of the Media Solutions Group this summer, led that companys rich media efforts. The non-compete agreement prohibits former employees from working for direct or indirect competitors for 12 months after leaving EMC.

He said SANgate is not a competitor, negating any reason for the lawsuit. The Southborough, Mass., company makes a black box product, for sale next spring, that works like a telephone line splitter, mirroring data as its created to multiple storage devices.

"We suggested to them that before they go ahead and file a lawsuit, we should sit down with them to see if there were any synergies we could explore, [but] they were quite obtuse," Kempel said Thursday in an interview.

Officials for EMC, which has sued former employees in the past over the non-compete agreement, declined to comment. Kempels attorney noted other recent examples from earlier this year, including lawsuits filed against Joanna Karwowska, an engineer, and Eric Mann and Todd Gresham, both salesmen.

Kempel said the lawsuit was indicative of bigger problems at EMC, which on Monday is expected to announce earnings several hundred million dollars short of its originally stated goals. Also, dormant rumors of IBM buying EMC surfaced again last week, with many analysts debating the pros and cons of such a union.

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