OKLAHOMA CITY - One of the nation's largest oil producers is suing its former CEO's new company, alleging that he stole "trade secrets" during his final days on the job.
On Tuesday, Chesapeake Energy filed a lawsuit against its former chief executive Aubrey McClendon's company American Energy Partners.
In the civil complaint, Chesapeake alleges that McClendon printed maps and data about unleased acreage before he left the company.
"The information was gathered, compiled and tabulated as a result of an expensive, elaborate and coordinated effort by Chesapeake landmen and geologists. It was not known widely within Chesapeake--and not known at all outside of Chesapeake. Those within Chesapeake who were privy to this type of sensitive information were also obligated to keep it strictly confidential as part of Chesapeake's code of conduct. It is information that would be extremely difficult- if not impossible-for others to duplicate," the lawsuit claims.
"In all, McClendon BCC'd himself on dozens of emails containing trade secret information between the time his retirement was announced on January 29 and his separation from Chesapeake on April 1," the lawsuit claims. "During this same period of time, while McClendon was serving as director and CEO of Chesapeake and while he was secretly stealing Chesapeake's trade secrets, McClendon was also forming his own new companies, and soliciting investors for them, to compete with Chesapeake."
"First, the company promised he would be paid his compensation benefits as provided for in his employment agreement and second, the company promised he would be provided with an extensive array of information about the more than 16,000 wells, and the related leasehold acreage and future wells, he jointly owns with Chesapeake," a press release read. "The deal further gave Mr. McClendon the right to own and use this information for his own purposes, including sharing it with his employees, contractors, advisors, consultants and affiliated entities."
"It appears that Chesapeake wishes it had not agreed to the deal it made with Mr. McClendon and has sued to break those promises. However, a deal is a deal and Mr. McClendon and AELP will be vindicated in this dispute," it went on to say.