September 15, 2019

Express Scripts Accuses Ernst & Young Partner of Being the Worst Corporate Spy Ever

Late on Friday, Bloomberg reported that Express Scripts was suing Ernst & Young and a former E&Y partner for "theft of trade secrets and misappropriation of the pharmacy benefit manager’s confidential and proprietary data." Which is really just a very nice of saying "corporate espionage." 

And perhaps not surprisingly, the partner in question, Don Gravlin, wasn't utilizing the most sophisticated of methods:

The Express Scripts Holding Co. unit said in a complaint filed yesterday in state court in Clayton, Missouri, that it learned last year that accounting firm partner Don Gravlin had been “sneaking” into its St. Louis headquarters and e-mailing documents to a private Google account via the account of an Ernst & Young consultant.

In other words, his spy skills were comparable to Maxwell Smart's.

Express Scripts stated in its complaint that “E&Y and Gravlin were possessed with an evil motive,” which is pretty hilarious considering the alleged bumblingness of this operation. "Evil" usually requires "cunning" but there's no evidence of that in Bloomberg's report. 

Despite that, this was a pretty serious boost of proprietary data:

The accountants allegedly took the equivalent of more than 20,000 pages of data, including pricing information, business strategy, projections and “performance metrics” documents, to aid development of Ernst & Young’s own health-care business segment, which includes Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions Inc., which it acquired last year, as well as some of their competitors.

Ernst & Young went on record to say that when they were made aware of this, "we immediately conducted an investigation and concluded there was a violation of EY policies and the company’s policies," adding, "The individual at the center of these allegations is no longer with the firm."

Express Scripts wants to bar E&Y from using any of the data that was allegedly stolen, which should be easy enough determine since they probably referenced it as "Stolen Express Scripts Proprietary Data" in the footnotes of any internal communication.  

Express Scripts Sues E&Y Alleging Trade Secret Theft [Bloomberg] 

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