A recent statement issued by MGM Resorts International stated that the lawsuit filed against the Ocean Casino Resort on behalf of the Borgata Hotel and Casino has been settled. The reason for the litigation between the two casinos was based on Ocean Casino hiring marketing staff from Borgata and allegedly doing so to gain access to the casino’s trade secrets. The case was finally resolved after nearly 8 months of litigation ending with both sides breathing a sigh of relief.
The court action was first filed in federal court in August 2020 by Borgata and its owner MGM Resorts International. Reports stated that the opposing sides were able to amicably resolve their difference with a settlement agreement. From the time the agreement was met in the last week of April. The better part of the terms were to be met within 120 days according to the legal court document. An MGM statement said that Ocean Casino has agreed to honour restrictive covenants set out by Borgota as part of the resolution that was agreed. This includes non-solicitation, its non-compete as well as confidentiality arrangements that were created to protect trade secrets at Borgata.
Other steps were also taken to ensure that trade secrets were not leaked such as getting previous Borgata employees to return any proprietary information, accessibility and devices that could be used to share trade secrets with Ocean. One such example is William Callahan who left Borgata for Ocean in October last year. After Callahan had already turned in the phone issued to him by Borgata, he was ordered to submit his personal cell phone to be examined forensically. The inspection of the device was done to find out if it contained any information on VIP Borgata guests or trade secrets that could be used against them. He was also ordered to hand over personal computers, duplicates of the two phones as well as any devices that could access cloud-based accounts. Along with all these devices log in information was turned over as well for any cloud-based platforms available on the devices.
Even though Callahan and other employees made their way to Ocean Casino, they either forgot or chose to ignore the fact that they had signed a non-compete agreement that is valid for a year when choosing to work at Borgata. Kelly Ashman Burke also took a marketing job at Ocean, but had no right to be employed at the competing gaming facility when she left Borgata. She was ordered to get rid of any copies of the marketing strategies that may have belonged to Borgata that were saved in her personal capacity as well as anything that Ocean Casino may have gained because of her.
Burke and Callahan accepted jobs at Ocean Casino that meant they would have important marketing roles in the company. These individuals were not working as juniors in the department but held roles such as executive director of marketing and vice president of relationship marketing, respectively.
While no comment was received by Ocean Casino on the matter, reports have stated that in their previous roles at Borgata, Callahan and Burke had proprietary information. The information was specifically aimed at how MGM and Borgata would cater to and treat their high rollers. The two employees would also know what these VIP players prefer when they visit the casino, which could be anything from preferred beverages or food to complimentary services provided to them when they visit Borgata. During the court proceedings, the two employees were also forbidden from soliciting or making contact with Borgata customers as well as being barred from revealing any of Borgata’s trade secrets.