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Panera sues former executive, Papa John’s over trade secrets

ST. LOUIS – The restaurant chain Panera alleges in a lawsuit that a former executive who left to go to work for pizza chain Papa John’s took trade secrets with him.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis names both former Panera executive Michael Nettles and Louisville, Kentucky-based Papa John’s International.

The lawsuit said Nettles worked for four years as a vice president in Panera’s information technology department, with access to highly sensitive confidential and proprietary information and trade secrets. He began work for Papa John’s on Monday. Suburban St. Louis-based Panera said Nettles’ new position violates a confidentiality and non-compete agreement.

Papa John’s issued a statement saying it’s disappointed in the lawsuit and does not consider Panera a competitor.


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