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Ernst & Young Accused of Massive Data Theft

CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) - Ernst & Young stole thousands of pages of confidential documents from Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions, the pharmacy giants claim court.

Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions sued Ernst & Young and Donald Gravlin, in St. Louis County Court.

Express Scripts claims that in August 2012 its security team discovered a number of suspicious emails being sent from Ernst & Young consultant Michelle Borman's account to a personal Google email address.

Borman is not a party to the complaint.

Investigation revealed that the emails were actually being sent by Donald Gravlin, Ernst & Young's Health Care IT Partner, with the help of other Ernst & Young employees, the complaint states.

The plaintiffs claim Ernst & Young is liable for Gravlin's actions because he was acting for the benefit of Ernst & Young, under its direction and authority.

"E&Y was motivated to facilitate the misappropriation and theft of the companies' confidential and proprietary information for its own financial gain," the complaint states.

"E&Y stole the companies' confidential and proprietary information to grow and develop additional business in its health care segment, including potential additional business with Express Scripts, Medco, and their direct competitors.

"As of this filing, Express Scripts believes that E&Y and Gravlin misappropriated and stole the equivalent of more than twenty-thousand (20,000) pages of data containing confidential information and trade secrets belonging to Express Scripts and Medco."

The plaintiffs claim the stolen documents contained competitively sensitive cost and pricing information, projections and integration strategy and business strategy and performance metrics information.

"E&Y and Gravlin intentionally tampered with Express Scripts' password-protected computer systems and e-mail accounts, deleting and altering electronic files and electronically stored data and records in an attempt to cover up the theft," the complaint states.

"Express Scripts uncovered other questionable E&Y practices that are not the subject of this lawsuit, including suspicious and potentially fraudulent billing practices, potential breach of fiduciary duties by E&Y partners, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in undocumented and unsubstantiated expenses to Express Scripts."

Express Scripts and Medco claim that Ernst & Young admitted that several employees routinely shared the plaintiffs' computer security access in violation of basic security protocols, and admitted that Gravlin removed at least 952 files containing the plaintiffs' confidential information.

Express Scripts and Medco claim Ernst & Young also admitted that Gravlin was motivated to steal the information to get new business from Express Scripts, and that Gravlin had recently performed consulting services for one of Express Scripts' competitors.

"E&Y and Gravlin engaged in unlawful and malicious competitive intelligence-gathering, unlawfully accessing Express Scripts' facilities and computer systems to obtain information to benefit E&Y and Gravlin, and profit from the confidential and proprietary information they misappropriated," the complaint states.

"Express Scripts and Medco were damaged, in part, because Gravlin and E&Y improperly used the companies' stolen data to solicit E&Y's consulting services to Express Scripts and Medco as well as other third parties, without compensation to Express Scripts or Medco."

Express Scripts and Medco want Ernst & Young and Gravlin enjoined from using the confidential information, and actual and punitive damages for misappropriation of trade secrets, trespass and violations of the Missouri Computer Tampering Act.

The plaintiffs are represented by James F. Monafo with Husch Blackwell in St. Louis.

Ernst & Young, based in St. Louis, bills itself as one of the world's leading professional services organizations.

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