United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
FISH, Senior United States District Judge.
action was brought by the plaintiff, The Expo Group
(“TEG”), against its former employee, Jeff
Castillo (“Castillo, ” or “the
defendant”), and arises from the defendant’s
alleged breach of a non-disclosure and non-solicitation
agreement. Before the court is the plaintiff’s motion
for a preliminary injunction. In accordance with Rule 52 of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court sets forth
its findings of fact and conclusions of law below. For the
reasons stated, the plaintiff’s motion for a
preliminary injunction is granted.
FINDINGS OF FACT
Expo Group (“TEG”) is a national company that
specializes in assisting clients grow their attendee,
exhibitor, and sponsorship revenue at trade shows. Notice of
Removal (docket entry 1), Exhibit A, ¶ 2.
During or prior to July 2018, TEG purchased one of its
competitors--Xpert. See Appendix to
Plaintiff’s Brief in Support of Motion for Preliminary
Injunction (“Appendix in Support”) (docket entry
23) at 58, 110.
defendant, Jeff Castillo, worked as an account manager and
then as director of account management at Xpert from 2015
until July 2018, when Xpert was purchased by TEG.
Id. at 58.
Incident to the purchase, TEG acquired all of Xpert’s
equipment, property, industry knowledge, and trade secrets.
Id. at 110.
Following the purchase, Castillo was hired as an account
manager involved in the production of trade shows at TEG in
July, 2018. Id. at 58.
July 20, 2018, Castillo and TEG executed two agreements
relating to Castillo’s employment: a
“Non-Disclosure and Non-Solicitation Agreement, ”
(the “NDA”), and a “Confidentiality and
Intellectual Property Agreement” (the
“confidentiality agreement”). See
Appendix in Support at 5-6; 16-18.
confidentiality agreement defines confidential information to
include “information concerning technical,
administrative, management, financial or marketing activities
of, or relating in any way to, TEG, its customers or its
business (such as procedures, information processing
processes, marketing plans and strategies, customer names,
financial data, employee and salary information).”
Appendix in Support at 16. The NDA provides that
“[d]uring [Castillo]’s employment with TEG, TEG
shall provide [Castillo] with access to some of TEG’s
confidential information.” Id. at 5.
return, the NDA provides that during Castillo’s
employment at TEG and for 24 months thereafter, Castillo will
not “solicit, call on, communicate with, do business
with, or attempt to do business with” any person or
entity which is, or was at any time in the previous 12
months, a TEG client with which Castillo worked, “or
about which [Castillo] received confidential information from
TEG.” Appendix in Support at 5, ¶ 3 (“the
While working for TEG, Castillo managed trade shows and
budgets, handled graphics, entertained clients, and went on
sales pitches. Id. at 120. Castillo had access to
some of TEG’s confidential information, including
customer data, customer lists, marketing plans, and pricing
arrangements. Id. at 113, 120. Castillo also had
access to the financial books and records for the shows that
he worked on at TEG. Id. at 121.
Castillo worked with ten TEG clients between July 2018, when
he was hired, and January 18, 2019, when he left the
company. Appendix in Support at 2-3, 93. Among them
were the Cowboy Christmas and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
(“RMEF”) shows: two events that occur annually
and concurrently in the same event space and are owned by the
same company, Las Vegas Events. Id. at 2, 69, 157;
Defendant’s Response to Plaintiff’s Proposed
Findings of Fact and Conclusion of Law
(“Defendant’s Findings”) (docket entry 34)
Castillo worked on the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Cowboy Christmas
shows as an account manager for Xpert. Appendix in Support at
Castillo served as TEG’s account manager for the Cowboy
Christmas show in December, 2018, during the course of which
he worked with and established a relationship with Bo Gardner
(“Gardner”). Appendix in Support at 81, 101.
Gardner was and remains an employee of Las Vegas Events, the
company that owns the Cowboy Christmas and RMEF events.
Id. at 35, 101.
January 5, 2019, Castillo accepted a position as an account
manager at Las Vegas Expo (“LVE”), one of
TEG’s competitors. Appendix in Support at 22, 64, 152.
Then, on January 8, Castillo formally notified TEG that he
was resigning from TEG and that January 18, 2019 would be his
last day with TEG. Id. at 8, 64. Castillo began
working at LVE the following day, on January 19, 2019.
Id. at 160.
Also in January 2019, though after he had left TEG, Castillo
played golf with Gardner and informed him that he had left
TEG and taken a job at LVE. Appendix in Support at 62.
This was the first time that Castillo, while employed by LVE,
discussed Cowboy Christmas with someone authorized to do
business on behalf of Las Vegas Events. Defendant Jeff
Castillo’s Response to Plaintiff’s Motion for
Preliminary Injunction (“Response”)(docket entry
26), Exhibit 1, ¶ 13. Gardner asked Castillo if LVE is
permitted to work in the convention center in which Cowboy
Christmas was held in 2018, to which Castillo responded
“yes.” Appendix in Support at 62; Response,
Exhibit 1, ¶ 13.
February 19, 2019, Castillo sent the president of LVE,
Nicholas Cordaro, an email stating that Castillo had
“added Las Vegas Events into [LVE’s database] as
a prospect, ” and outlining information about both RMEF
and Cowboy Christmas that Castillo had obtained from his work
on Cowboy Christmas in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. Appendix
in Support at 23, 72-73. Cordaro replied later that day,
instructing Castillo to “get the show.”
Id. at 24.
Castillo also arranged a lunch meeting between himself,
Cordaro, and Gardner, which took place in late February or
early March of 2019. Appendix in Support at 68-69. During
this meeting, the men discussed Cowboy Christmas’s
branding change, its storage needs, and plans for the 2021
Cowboy Christmas and RMEF events. Id. at 69.
March 19, 2019, Castillo sent Cordaro a draft of a proposal
for the 2019 Cowboy Christmas event. Se ...