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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Court sides with defendant that damage awards in Kaskaskia Engineering case 'premature'

By Dee Thompson | Oct 9, 2017


BENTON – The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois has issued a ruling in a case filed by an engineering firm against a former employee that started a competing company.

Defendants Todd Reyling and Relying Design and Consulting challenged plaintiff Kaskaskia Engineering Group's request for compensatory damages, punitive damages and injunctive relief, stating that it would be premature. On Oct. 2, Judge Reona J. Daly agreed that "significant questions remain with regard to the appropriate remedies for Counts I and III and that an entry of an award of compensatory damages, punitive damages and injunctive relief would be premature at this stage of the proceedings,"

The case was filed in August 2016 against Todd Reyling and Reyling Design and Consulting LLC. Kaskaskia Engineering alleged violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), and state law claims including violation of the Illinois Trade Secrets Act, tortious interference with business expectancy, breach of duty of loyalty, and violations of the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Todd Reyling started working at Kaskaskia in 2010 as a project manager. Before he resigned from Kaskaskia, Reyling had opened his own business, Reyling Design, the court's memorandum and order states.

“In May 2016, plaintiff discovered that Todd Reyling had accessed, misappropriated and deleted plaintiff’s computer files without authorization, which caused damage to plaintiff, including more than $5,000 to investigate Todd Reyling’s unauthorized access,” according to the court's memorandum and order.

Kaskaskia filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings on July 11, regarding its claims that Todd Reyling violated the CFAA (Count I) and breached a duty of loyalty (Count III). The CFAA says only authorized individuals can access computers and obtain information. Reyling does not contest judgment as to liability on Counts I and III. However, Reyling notes that “...an award of compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief would be premature," the memorandum states.

The court concluded by ruling “Based on the foregoing, plaintiff’s motion for judgment on the pleadings (Doc. 34) is granted with respect to liability on counts I and III but denied in all other respects. At the conclusion of this case, judgment on counts I and III will be entered in favor of paintiff Kaskaskia Engineering Group LLC and against defendant Todd Reyling,” the memorandum states.

The counts regarding compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief have yet to be ruled on.

Todd Reyling is represented by G. Patrick Murphy, Murphy & Murphy LLC.

Kaskaskia Engineering is represented by Michelle M. Cain, James M. Foster, Jr., and Kevin J. Lorenz of McMahon, Berger, et al.

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U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois