Wednesday, November 15, 2006, 11/15/2006 12:06:00 PM

Washington Mutual, Inc. Settles Comerica Trade Secret and Raiding Case for $47 Million

By Todd
In an interesting reported settlement of a California-based raiding and misappropriation claim, Washington Mutual has reportedly agreed to shell out $47 million and one of its executives has agreed not to hire for three years any of twenty-four (24) former Comerica employees who resigned together and apparently departed Comerica with detailed customer and account information regarding Comerica's banking customers. Comerica filed suit in July of 2005 against the departed employees and Commercial Capital Bancorp Inc., the banking interest that hired them away from Comerica. Commercial Capital Bancorp was acquired by Washington Mutual on October 1, 2006 and the latter then settled the case in mediation a few days ago.

Our question involves the reported "no hire" covenant. It appears that all twenty-four were fired by Commercial Capital Bancorp - thus giving some teeth to the "no hire" covenant. We'll research further factual background in this matter and report back to all of you. Suffice it to say that it appears from the reported settlement those twenty-four former Comerica employees probably wished they hadn't taken the customer data with them.

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