From the Ridder Trial, Part V -- The Case of the Missing Hard Drive

Posted
By: Jennifer Saba E&P has obtained the full transcript of the Minnesota trial of the St. Paul Pioneer Press versus the Star Tribune in late June relating to Par Ridder jumping as publisher from the Pi-Press to the Star Tribune. We've have carried excerpts here for the past week. Here is the fifth installment (see links to first four at bottom).

The Pioneer Press alleges in the lawsuit, among other things, that Ridder along with others violated a noncompete agreement and took sensitive financial data to the Star Tribune. A judge's ruling is expected soon.

During the first day of the trial, Ridder told the court about his actions, including downloading Pioneer Press financial information before he left. He said that if he had to do it over again, "I would do this differently."

Below is a video deposition of Ridder introduced by one of the plaintiff's attorneys Philip Sechler with Williams & Connolly. An "A" indicates Ridder's response.

*
Q On March 1st and March 2nd, you backed up your Pioneer Press laptop to your USB drive, did you not?

A Yes -- well, I shouldn't say that. I assume that I did.

Q You pushed a button?

A As I recall I did, yes.

Q Do you recall pushing the button?

A The button no longer worked anymore, so I had to do it manually. But I backed up my laptop in this time period that I was leaving the paper....

Q And included in the backup were all the St. Paul files that we just talked about; is that correct?

A Yes.

Q Did you then take the USB drive loaded with the all the St. Paul files to the Star Tribune's offices?

A No, I did at one point, but I didn't that weekend.

Q When did you take the USB drive with the St. Paul Pioneer Press files to the Star Tribune's offices?

A I believe it was on the 6th of March. Either the 6th or the 7th. But I believe it was the 6th.

Q Your second day or third day of work at the Star Tribune?

A Yes.

Q And did you then copy all of the St. Paul Pioneer Press files onto your Star Tribune computer?

A Yes, from the USB drive, yes. My laptop had been copied over. The Pioneer Press laptop had been copied over to my loaner Star Tribune laptop on the day I started, the 5th. Not all the files made it. He copied over e-mails, all my outlook information, but he didn't copy the files. So I brought in the USB port -- or backup and I copied my files to the Star Tribune, the Pioneer Press files to the Star Tribune computer.

Q Did you receive approval from anyone at the Pioneer Press or MediaNews to take the USB drive loaded with Pioneer Press files to the Star Tribune?

A No.

Q Did you receive approval from anyone at the Pioneer Press or MediaNews to load the Pioneer Press files onto your Star Tribune computer?

A No.

Q And so by copying all of the files you had on your laptop as publisher of the Pioneer Press and moving them to your Star Tribune computer, as publisher of the Star Tribune you had access to all of the confidential information you had as publisher of the Pioneer Press?

A Yes.

Q And would you agree that that information that you had as publisher of the Pioneer Press had value to the Pioneer Press?

A Yes.

Q And without prior authorization, you copied information that has value to the Pioneer Press and deposited it with a competitor of the Pioneer Press; is that right?

A I put it on my laptop at the Star Tribune, the Star Tribune laptop, yes.

Q Even though you knew at the time that this information belonged to the Pioneer Press?

A Yes.

Q And even though you knew at the time this information, in part, was confidential?

A Yes.

Q In fact, the Pioneer Press asked for you to return your USB drive, didn't that?

A They asked me to -- yes, they asked me to return the USB drive.

Q And you didn't return your USB drive, did you?

A I thought what they wanted me to return was the actual property. So I returned a USB drive, not THE - not the USB drive.

Q It was just the $40 USB drive is what they wanted?

A Or whatever.

Q Not the loads of financial information on it?

A Right, again, I had offered to delete anything that they wanted me to delete.

Q So when was the first time you received your request for your USB drive?

A I can't be certain. I think I got an e-mail from Barb Cartalucca. But I don't, I can't recall when.

Q Did you call Barb Cartalucca in response to her memo requesting the drive?

A Again, I can't recall if I responded to her or not. I think I did. I assume I did, but I can't recall for sure if I did or not.

Q For all you know, the Pioneer Press sent you a memo asking you to return your USB drive, and the next thing they get is an empty new USB drive in its box in the mail from you?

A Yes. In response to asking for the USB drive, I directed my assistant or the IT person, I can't recall, to send them a brand-new USB drive.

***

The first excerpts from trial can be found here.

The second part can be found here.

The third part can be found here.

The fourth part can be found here.


Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here