Defendant Must Repay Salary under Faithless Servant Doctrine

On September 14, 2023, Justice Crane of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in Columbia Tech. Corp. v. Yoo, 2023 NY Slip Op. 33205(U), holding that under the faithless servant doctrine, the defendant had to repay the salary he had been paid, explaining:

Plaintiff has carried its burden to show that Yoo breached his contracts and his duty of loyalty while working for CTC and being paid by CTC. There is no question that Yoo went to great lengths to copy or download CTC’s confidential information about thousands of candidates to his own accounts, some of which he then forwarded to the other defendants. To the extent Yoo argues that he was supposed to be paid double commissions, this court has already found that the agreements did not provide for double commissions. Moreover, this court has already issued an adverse inference, due to Yoo’s invocation of his 5th amendment rights, that his Levin account emails tend to show Yoo used CTC information to try to place certain candidates. Yoo does not seriously contend that he did not divert confidential customer information while he was working for CTC.

Yoo’s actions have consequences. First, Yoo has forfeited his entire salary for the entire time he was at CTC under the faithless servant doctrine/ This means not only that Yoo cannot recover on his counterclaim, but he also must disgorge the $56,410.00 that CTC paid him for his blatant breaches of fiduciary duties, including the duty of loyalty to the employer who was paying him.

(Internal citations omitted).

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