Lehmann Maupin Gallery and Former Employee Bona Yoo Settle Their Lawsuit Over the Alleged Theft of Trade Secrets

The explosive suit between Bona Yoo and her former employer has come to an end.

Half a year after Lehmann Maupin filed a lawsuit against a former employee for allegedly stealing trade secrets, the two parties have reached an agreement and the case has been voluntarily dismissed. The gallery and Bona Yoo, who is now a director at Lévy Gorvy, resolved the dispute “without costs or attorney’s fees to any party,” according to a single-page judgement from Alison J. Nathan filed in US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Neither attorneys for Lehmann Maupin nor Lévy Gorvy had immediately responded to a request for comment.

Lehmann Maupin initially filed suit against Yoo late last November and then filed an updated complaint on January 14. The gallery alleged that Yoo “surreptitiously copied valuable trade secrets” from its computer systems before she left and “maliciously corrupted” or deleted important information from the gallery’s database. Yoo’s plan, according to the lawsuit, was designed to impede the gallery’s business while simultaneously allowing her to use the information for her own financial gain at another gallery. (Lévy Gorvy was not named in the suit.)

Co-owners Rachel Lehmann and David Maupin. Photo: Clint Spaulding/PatrickMcMullan.com

Yoo, who worked at Lehmann Maupin full-time for over a year, countered with a claim of her own in February. Her response characterized the Lehmann Maupin suit as a case of sour grapes. Yoo said the gallery’s co-founders, Rachel Lehmann and David Maupin, had filed the suit “not to redress any wrongs by Ms. Yoo,” but rather “to spite its former employee” for pursuing “a promising career opportunity at another prominently-known art gallery,” according to court papers. Lehmann Maupin was desperate to contrive a basis to sue her in order to publicly attack her without fear of defamation claims, Yoo asserted.

Things got even uglier the following month, when Lehmann Maupin responded to Yoo’s counterclaims with a 12-page document filed on March 8. “Bona Yoo feigns indignation, complains that she is being persecuted, and imagines a nefarious plan to smear her in the press,” the gallery wrote in court filings. “[She] has… opted to riposte with a meek counterclaim based entirely on speculation, shaky ‘facts’ and half-truths. Rather ironically, the same media attention that Bona Yoo pretends to eschew is precisely that which her baseless counterclaim has attracted. At the same time, she only confirms her own wrongful behavior that resulted in this action being filed.”

From there, however, proceedings quickly ground to a halt. According to the court filings available, scheduled conferences were adjourned in May because the parties were “engaged in productive discussions” that could resolve the dispute. They filed for voluntary dismissal on June 7; the case was officially dismissed on June 10.

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