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Punitive damages awarded by the jury include $1 million from FusionStorm, $175,000 from Dragoni, $150,000 from Thompson, and $100,000 each from Varel and Tonges, according to the jury's Special Verdict, a copy of which was examined by CRN.
The lawsuit stems from a decision by FusionStorm to hire Dragoni in 2006 to set up a Tampa branch office to compete with TIG. Dragoni then went on to hire a number of his TIG colleagues, according to TIG.
TIG President and CEO Bruce Geier said he believes this is the first major case that lays ground rules on what in the VAR industry is acceptable in terms of recruiting from competitors.
"In our industry, people are always getting raided," he said. "You can raid, but you can't move accounts while on someone else's payroll, or falsely say a company is going bankrupt. So this is a major, major step to making the rules clear. The more this is publicized, the better it is for all VARs."
In one specific instance, a TIG employee got EMC to move a registered deal from TIG to FusionStorm by telling the vendor that TIG was going bankrupt, according to Geier.
In other instances, Dragoni got customers to request their registered deals moved to FusionStorm for the same reason, Geier alleged. "That was dirty, unethical stuff," Geier said.
Dragoni, who worked for TIG for two and a half years, allegedly steered a TIG employee to work for FusionStorm while he was still working for TIG, said Geier.
Several other employees including a couple of engineers started secretly working in late 2006 for FusionStorm while remaining on the TIG payroll, according to Geier. Some of those employees sent e-mails to TIG customers saying that TIG was going to go bankrupt, Geier alleged.