Starwood Sues Hilton, Alleging Former Execs Stole Data

NEW YORK Starwood Hotels & Resorts in a lawsuit alleges that two former executives who joined rival Hilton Hotels used proprietary information to expedite Hilton’s recent launch of a luxury lifestyle brand.

In the lawsuit, Starwood accuses Ross Klein and Amar Lalvani, the former president and senior vice president of Starwood Luxury Brands Group who joined Hilton in June 2008, of stealing more than 100,000 electronic files from Starwood, including confidential information about the company’s W hotel brand. The information, Starwood alleges, aided Hilton’s development of its Denizen luxury lifestyle brand, which it launched last month. The company is seeking punitive damages from Hilton and the two executives as well as the return or destruction of all confidential information.

“The wholesale looting of proprietary Starwood information, including a step-by-step playbook for creating a lifestyle luxury hotel brand, unfairly enabled Hilton to launch a new brand in only nine months instead of the usual three to five years,” Starwood chief administrative officer and general counsel Kenneth Siegel said in a statement.

Hilton spokesperson Ellen Gonda issued the following statement: “Hilton Hotels Corp. believes this lawsuit is without merit and will vigorously defend itself. We fully intend to move forward on the development of our newest brand, Denizen Hotels.”

Source: BTNonline.com