The counterclaim, which seeks damages in excess of $50,000, comes more than a month after the three executives - Andrew Hyett, Scott Heimbrodt and Anthony Broadbent - filed suit against their former employer for breach of contract and wrongful dismissal. The three were terminated in February after talks between DDB Needham and the three to buy the San Francisco office broke down.
In a nine-page filing in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, DDB Needham charges that when the three left the firm, they took with them copies of software, computerized data and documents that belonged to the agency.
It also claims the three took materials prepared for a client presentation for Santa Cruz Operation, a software company which had paid DDB Needham to develop initial advertising materials. The filing said the three used the material to win work from Santa Cruz at their own, newly formed agency HBH Advertising.
The counterclaim also charges that the three used confidential and proprietary information they misappropriated from DDB Needham and accuses them of interfering with DDB Needham's existing and prospective business relationships.
It goes on to accuse the three of seeking to erase and destroy data at DDB Needham to further damage the company.
A spokesperson for HBH Advertising said it had not yet seen a copy of the coutnerclaim and would not comment on it until it had been studied by HBH attorneys.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)