Last fall Zynga sued rival gaming developer Playdom (recently acquired by Disney) for an array of issues including misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, and breach of the duty of loyalty.
In short Zynga accused Playdom of stealing its confidential ‘Zynga Playbook‘.
The case continues, but the drama has reached its peak. The court today held one former Zynga and Playdom employee, Raymond Holmes, in contempt and sentenced him to ten days in county jail and a $4,000 fine. Fortunately for Holmes, Judge Mark Pierce then suspended the sentence. That means Holmes won’t do the time unless he continues to, well, piss off Judge Pierce. The full order is embedded below.
What did Holmes do? Lots of things apparently: destruction of evidence on laptop, destruction of Mozy backup, failure to identify other storage devices with Zynga documents and the signing of two false court certificates. The court says Holmes admitted to his improper actions and apologized.
Worse still for Playdom is the last sentence of the court document. It says it’s “appropriate to impose a non rebutable evidentiary presumption in favor of Zynga regarding the meta data lost when Def Holmes erased his hard drive.”
Reggie Davis, General Counsel, Zynga says: “We are pleased that the Court treated destruction of stolen Zynga materials by a then-current Playdom employee, and violations of two court orders, with the seriousness they deserve.”
Earlier this year a court in Santa Clara dissolved the initial restraining order against Playdom issued a new preliminary injunction against Playdom finding that Zynga likely to prevail at trial on their trade secret theft claims, and (supposedly) stopping the release of several games scheduled to be released by Playdom.