Joseph McCullough can start work at Medtronic in November, not May 2011, as St. Jude had wanted, according to a ruling by Ramsey District Court Judge M. Michael Monahan in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Last month, St. Jude filed a lawsuit against McCullough, accusing him of violating a non-compete agreement. St. Jude said it fears McCollough, Medtronic’s new vice president and international general manager, will share “sensitive and confidential information” concerning St. Jude’s global operations with his new employer. As one of two group presidents, McCullough had reported directly to St. Jude CEO Dan Starks.
Though Monahan has banned McCullough from working at Medtronic for another three months, it’s not clear how the judge will rule on St. Jude’s other demands: that he not disclose confidential information and if he does, pay St. Jude any money associated with “misconduct and unfair competition,” plus damages to be established at trial.
That might be hard to prove. The judge noted Medtronic and McCullough carefully crafted an employment agreement with “an attention to linguistic detail more commonly encountered in tax legislation or SEC filings rather than in employment contracts.”
The documents “are evidence that both defendant and Medtronic recognized that they were embarking upon a relationship that was laden with serious legal and ethical problems,” Monahan wrote.