Greenville, South Carolina – Michelin North America Inc. is suing a former employee in federal court, accusing him of divulging trade secrets after he left the company in 2018.
Michelin filed a complaint in May 2019 against Michael Dotson before the US District Court for the District of South Carolina, Greenville Division.
According to the complaint, Dotson worked in Michelin's research and development department from April 2005 to August 2018.
He left the company to become VP of business transformations at Carlstar Group LLC, a Franklin, Tennessee-based company that produces and sells a range of industrial and speciality tires under the Carlisle, ITP and Marastar brand names.
Because of his access to Michelin's confidential, proprietary and trade secret information, Dotson signed a secrecy and non-compete agreement with the company, agreeing not to share its secrets with competitors, the complaint said.
However, a Carlstar employee told Michelin in December 2018 that Dotson had been using an external hard drive to share Michelin documents during meetings at Carlstar.
These documents included spreadsheets, mixing information and other data, the complaint said.
"Dotson has used and shared with others at Carlstar information of Michelin that constitutes trade secrets under the Defend Trade Secrets Act," the complaint alleged.
"Michelin provided Dotson with access to certain trade secrets of Michelin because Dotson was under duties of loyalty and confidentiality to Michelin, which Michelin believed Dotson would fulfil," it said.
Michelin sought temporary and permanent injunctions against Dotson's sharing Michelin trade secrets; the return of all its property and materials; and unspecified damages and attorneys' fees.
Dotson denied all of Michelin's allegations in a response to the complaint filed in June 2019.
The court has now set the schedule for discovery, mediation and jury selection in the case.
The most recent document filed in the case was an scheduling order filed 7 Feb by Judge Timothy M. Cain.