Touro University in New York has sued its former dental school vice dean, who was fired in 2023, accusing him of misusing trade secrets to possibly assist another school in starting a dental school, according to a story published in the Westfair Business Journal.
The university filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Dr. Edward Farkas, a dentist who helped create, develop, and operate the Touro College of Dental Medicine, for violating the U.S. Defend Trade Secrets Act. Farkas was fired on December 28, 2023, as the dental school’s vice dean, according to the story published on January 12.
Touro has asked the court to stop Farkas and anyone acting with him from possessing, using, or disclosing the college’s secrets and that any information be destroyed. Furthermore, the school is asking Farkas to pay compensatory and punitive damages.
On January 9, a judge issued a temporary restraining order against Farkas preventing him from accessing or sharing files belonging to Touro while they try to negotiate a settlement, according to the story.
When the dental school opened on the campus of New York Medical College in Hawthorne, it was the first in the U.S. to operate under Jewish auspices. Farkas played a key role in creating and opening the school.
In his administrative position, Farkas had access and control of privileged information. The university claimed that its trade secrets, which include concepts and ways that it allowed the university to quickly develop a new school and achieve accreditation, would be valuable to other colleges looking to create dental schools, according to the story.
Touro accused Farkas of downloading confidential information to a personal device in July 2023 and that he approached Yeshiva University in New York in the fall of 2023 regarding his interest in starting a dental school, according to the story.
On December 4, Farkas allegedly had a brief discussion with Alan Kadish, the university president, and said that he would be resigning. Two days later, Farkas told the president that he signed a deal to be the founding dean of a new dental school, according to the story.
During those days in December, the university claimed that Farkas downloaded 4,962 files that would allow a competitor to quickly open a new dental school and gain a competitive edge.