MeritDirect Case Against Slater, Direct Media Resumes in June

The next hearing in a court battle initiated by MeritDirect to prevent founding partner Chad Slater from operating his list brokerage firm, Integrated Direct Marketing, won't take place until June, MeritDirect attorney Stephen J. Curley said yesterday.

However, Curley would not elaborate, nor comment on a court appearance by all involved parties that took place March 17.

MeritDirect initiated the proceedings Feb. 21 when it filed an application for a temporary injunction against Slater, IDM and Direct Media Inc. with the Superior Court in Stamford, CT. The action was triggered by Slater's announcement the previous day that he had opened IDM and that Direct Media would provide back-office support. Also, Direct Media had announced that IDM was a partner in its new database consortium.

Slater and Direct Media officials declined comment for this story. MeritDirect CEO Ralph Drybrough also declined comment.

According to MeritDirect's complaint, the three parties were in violation of MeritDirect's operating agreement, which Slater signed as a partner in the company, including that Slater could not compete against his former employer for two years.

The complaint further alleged that Slater knowingly divulged proprietary information while still employed at MeritDirect. The document also said Slater was dismissed Oct. 7 upon discovery of that breach. That dismissal sparked a civil action against MeritDirect even though MeritDirect's operating agreement stipulates that disputes be settled in arbitration. Those records were sealed in December.

At the time of the complaint, Slater maintained he did not violate any agreements with MeritDirect and Direct Media chairman/CEO David W. Florence said he didn't know why his company was named.

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