In March 2021, Apple released a report titled “Apple is suing former employee for passing on secret information about Apple to media correspondent for gain and more.” Apple noted in their complaint against former employee Simon Lancaster, an advanced materials manager, that “Despite more than a decade of employment with Apple, Lancaster abused his position and his trust within the company. to systematically disseminate Apple’s confidential information on trade secrets for the purpose of obtaining personal information benefits. “
On Thursday, attorney for Simon Lancaster filed a motion to stay Apple’s civil action in light of a criminal investigation by the Santa Clara County District Attorney.
In the introduction to the court case, Simon Lancaster’s lawyer Scott Raber states:
“Defendant Simon Lancaster is asking to stay this civil action in favor of a related criminal investigation by the Santa Clara County District Attorney because the two actions are so similar and arise from the same core of facts as the Fifth Amendment rights of Mr Lancaster will Allowing both actions to continue would place Mr Lancaster in the untenable position of having to choose between exercising his constitutional right against self-incrimination and defending himself in the civil action. civil proceedings in favor of the ongoing criminal proceedings. where, as here, there is a substantial overlap between the two cases. Therefore, the granting of a stay is an appropriate exercise of the discretion of this Court protecting these constitutional rights. as we will see in more detail below, Apple’s pursuit of this action involves Mr. Lancaster’s Fifth Amendment rights.
It would be unfair for Lancaster to have adverse inferences drawn against him in the civil action while he awaits the resolution of the criminal investigation (and a possible indictment) with respect to the same subject. “
The record finally notes: “In conclusion, in the absence of a stay, Lancaster will face the heavy burden of choosing between defending itself in the civil action and relinquishing its Fifth Amendment privileges. Given the almost complete overlap between the allegations in the Complaint and the subject of the criminal investigation, the interests of justice demand that these proceedings be stayed. ”
Apple wants a conviction in this case against those they perceive to be responsible for the leak in order to send a strong message to the other current leakers within the company that Apple will not hesitate to prosecute any employee engaging in any form of information leakage about the company.
At the end of September, Patently Apple released a report titled “Frustration over leaks spilled over to Tim Cook’s latest email to employees” in which he noted in part: “As you know, we don’t tolerate disclosure of confidential information, be it product IP or confidential meeting details. We know that the leakers are a small number of people. We also know that people who divulge confidential information have no place here. “
For the record, Simon Lancaster’s LinkedIn page has his Apple employment record deleted. Whether this is his personal decision or the one forced upon him by Apple’s legal department is unknown at this time.