Mayo Clinic settles trade secret lawsuit against former executive

Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic reached a settlement agreement Wednesday to permanently withdraw a lawsuit against the former CEO of Mayo Medical Labs, Franklin R. Cockerill III, MD, according to the Post-Bulletin.

Mayo Clinic sued Dr. Cockerill in October with allegations for misappropriating trade secrets and breaching his contract. He was sued after he retired from Mayo in late September and promptly started a position at competitor Quest Diagnostics, based in Madison, N.J. The suit alleges he accepted the Quest offer in June and misled coworkers to believe he was retiring in September to help with his elderly mother's fertilizer business.

In the settlement, Dr. Cockerill maintained he did nothing wrong, but agreed not to work or consult with large Mayo competitors for two years. He will also return all confidential information and reimburse Mayo Clinic for a portion of its legal expenses, according to the report.

Dr. Cockerill worked at Quest as vice president and chief laboratory officer from Oct. 1 – Oct. 14, until a restraining order keeping him from the position was filed and granted. The restraining order said Dr. Cockerill could cause "irreparable harm" by working at Quest, claiming he left his former job with memory sticks of confidential data, according to the report. He resigned from Quest earlier this month.

Dr. Cockerill worked for Mayo Clinic for more than 30 years. Several of his family members are also Mayo Clinic employees. He said in a statement he had no intention to harm Mayo, according to the report.  

Mayo maintained legal action was necessary to protect confidential information.


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