Whirlpool settles trade secrets case against exec who joined rival Haier

By Blake Brittain

(Reuters) -Appliance maker Whirlpool on Thursday agreed to drop a U.S. lawsuit against its former Italian executive Davide Cabri that accused him of stealing trade secrets for a move to its competitor Haier.

Whirlpool and Cabri told a Delaware federal court they would dismiss the case with prejudice, which means it cannot be refiled. Whirpool said in a statement on Friday that the dispute had been resolved and that it was satisfied with the settlement.

Haier Europe and an attorney for Cabri did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.

Cabri worked for Whirlpool for more than 32 years and was a high-level executive in Whirlpool’s global laundry division. He told the company in 2021 that he was leaving for a position at Haier’s Candy Hoover Group.

Benton Harbor, Michigan-based Whirlpool sued Cabri later that year. It said Haier had hired Cabri for its own laundry division because he knew Whirlpool’s trade secrets and that it would be impossible for him to work there without disclosing them.

A federal judge rejected Whirlpool’s bid to block Cabri’s move last May, finding the Delaware court lacked jurisdiction over the trade-secret allegations.

The judge also denied Cabri’s bid to dismiss Whirlpool’s claim that he breached a contract by failing to repay the company over $400,000 in incentives.

The case is Whirlpool Corp v. Cabri, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, No. 1:21-cv-00979.

For Whirlpool: Steven Zadravecz of Jones Day, John Sensing of Potter Anderson & Corroon

For Cabri: Ethan Townsend of McDermott Will & Emery

Read more:

Former Whirlpool exec dodges trade-secret claims over Haier move

(Reporting by Blake Brittain in Washington)

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