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Prov International Inc. v. Lucca

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

October 29, 2019

PROV INTERNATIONAL INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
RUBENS DALLE LUCCA, et al., Defendants.



         According to the complaint, after each resigned from a foreign subsidiary of ProV International, Rubens Lucca and Christian Wawrzinek joined Nuvolax, a competing IT consulting firm, and began soliciting ProV International's employees to join Nuvolax in Germany and Brazil. ProV International - apparently frustrated by the absence of a non-solicitation clause in Lucca's and Wawrzinek's employment agreement - claims that Lucca and Wawrzinek both engaged in “deceptive and unfair trade practices” and misappropriated “trade secrets” by disclosing to Nuvolax the identity of ProV International's employees and clients.

         ProV International and ProV Brazil move (Doc. 12) for a preliminary injunction. Wawrzinek, the only defendant to receive service of process, opposes (Doc. 20) the preliminary injunction and moves (Doc. 11) to dismiss for failure to state a claim and for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.


         The motion for a preliminary injunction, verified by the director of ProV International, contains the same factual allegations as the amended complaint and alleges the following. ProV International, a Florida corporation, provides “IT consulting services” in “practice areas” that the motion designates as “ServiceNow” and “IFS” (both of which remain undefined). (Doc. 12 at ¶ 4) ProV International wholly owns ProV Brazil and ProV Germany, a non-party. Nuvolax, a German corporation, wholly owns Nuvolax Brazil and competes with ProV International's subsidiaries in Germany and Brazil.

         ProV Germany

         In early 2017, ProV International formed ProV Germany. (Doc. 12 at ¶ 8) In May 2017, Wawrzinek, a German citizen, joined ProV Germany and later became the “Director of Professional Services.” (Doc. 12 at ¶ 5) However, in June 2018, ProV Germany fired Wawrzinek after learning that Wawrzinek planned to join Nuvolax and recruit ProV Germany's ServiceNow employees. (Doc. 12 at ¶ 5) In August 2018, two employees resigned from ProV Germany and joined Nuvolax. Although Wawrzinek joined Nuvolax two months later, the plaintiffs “believe” that Wawrzinek recruited the two employees on behalf of Nuvolax. (Doc. 12 at ¶ 6) After Wawrzinek joined Nuvolax, ProV Germany sued Wawrzinek in a labor court in Stuttgart, Germany. (Doc. 12 at ¶ 7) The suit remains pending.

         Also, ProV International alleges that Wawrzinek “systematically” transmitted (unspecified) information from ProV Germany to Tema GmbH, a German corporation owned by Wawrzinek's wife. (Doc. 12 at ¶ 5) No paper describes the information transferred or the purpose of the transfer.

         ProV Brazil

         In June 2017, ProV International formed ProV Brazil. (Doc. 12 at ¶ 8) In October 2017, Lucca, a Brazilian citizen, joined ProV Brazil and became the “Country Manager.” (Doc. 12 at ¶ 9) The plaintiffs allege that Lucca had “constant money problems” and that the plaintiffs lent Lucca $10, 000 in response to Lucca's repeated demand for an advancement of salary. (Doc. 12 at ¶ 11)

         On January 24, 2019, Lucca traveled to a ServiceNow trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada, to attend a “Dynatrace event” and to tender his resignation to the CEO of ProV International. (Doc. 12 at ¶ 11) The CEO accepted Lucca's resignation, and ProV Brazil and Lucca began “to work out, in earnest, the details” of Lucca's resignation. (Doc. 12 at ¶ 31) Lucca left ProV Brazil on January 31, 2019, but failed to repay the $10, 000 loan and failed to return a company laptop. (Doc. 12 at ¶ 12) The plaintiffs “believe” that Lucca uses contact information in the laptop to contact ProV Brazil's employees. (Doc. 12 at ¶ 12)

         Later, Lucca joined Nuvolax, which on April 22, 2019, formed Nuvolax Brazil to provide ServiceNow consulting services throughout Brazil. Nuvolax offered employment to ten of ProV Brazil's fifteen ServiceNow consultants, and three accepted the offer. (Doc. 12 at ¶ 13) ProV Brazil retained the remaining ServiceNow consultants by increasing pay. (Doc. 12 at ¶ 13) Also, Nuvolax recruited from ProV Brazil a “salesperson” and a “marketing person.” (Doc. 12 at ¶ 13)

         Procedural History

         On April 24, 2019, ProV International and ProV Brazil sued Lucca, Wawrzinek, and Nuvolax and asserted claims under state law only.[1] Fourteen days later, the plaintiffs effected personal service on Wawrzinek at a hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Doc. 6) The same day, the plaintiffs moved (Doc. 5) for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction prohibiting Lucca, Wawrzinek, and Nuvolax Germany from recruiting the employees of ProV Brazil and ProV Germany. A May 17, 2019 order (Doc. 7) defers ruling on the motion for ...

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