herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Poker site claims manager mailed data to rival

AN online poker provider has brought High Court proceedings against one of its senior managers, who intends to start working with rivals Paddy Power, after it discovered he emailed what it claims is commercially sensitive information to a personal account.

Pocket Kings Ltd claims that it would suffer immeasurable damages if confidential information should get into the hands of a rival provider.

The firm obtained a temporary High Court injunction compelling Niall Humphreys, a web operations manager with the company since 2009, to disclose what he has done with the email material.

It is claimed that there is no reasonable explanation why Mr Humphreys, who has a detailed knowledge of Pocket Kings' strategic plans, should want to retain this material, and that his actions are in breach of an agreement he signed with Pocket Kings.

The court also heard Mr Humphreys had denied taking any confidential information, and anything he had taken was designed by himself.

The court also heard that Mr Humphreys' own solicitors, as well as solicitors for Paddy Power, have informed Poker Kings that Mr Humphreys, who rejects any claim that he is not entitled to work for Paddy Powers, had no intention of breaching any obligations, and would be engaged in a different position with Paddy Power to his role with Poker Kings.



Confidential

Yesterday at the High Court Mr Justice John Hedigan granted Pocket Kings, of Cherrywood Science and Technology Park, Loughlinstown, Dublin, an interim injunction preventing Mr Humphreys from using any of the company's confidential information.

He must also provide a sworn statement in respect of the material he removed from Pocket Kings, including the purpose of that removal, the current location of the information and the identity of all persons who have access to it.

He is also prohibited from destroying, altering or concealing the removal of confidential information from Poker Kings.

Counsel for Poker Kings Mark Connaughton said that the company was taking steps because of fears it has over important confidential information.

Counsel said Mr Humphreys handed in his notice on December 21 last, and said he was taking up a role with Paddy Power, who also offer online poker.

Mr Humphreys was written to and reminded of the confidentiality agreement.

Mr Connaughton said while had received letters from solicitors representing both Mr Humphreys and Paddy Power and had confronted him in relation to the emails, they did not accept either Mr Humphreys' explanations nor the assurances given on behalf of Paddy Power.

He said a former employee of the company, now working with Paddy Power had sent emails seeking to solicit from his former colleagues confidential business information concerning Pocket Kings' business.

Counsel said this email put his clients on alert, due to the grave concerns it has if confidential information were to be disclosed to a rival. As a result they searched Mr Humphreys' company email account.

During this search they discovered that on three separate date last month files containing confidential information belonging to the company were emailed by Mr Humphreys' to his personal account.

hnews@herald.ie

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