Hilton Hotels Corp. has been issued a preliminary injunction to temporarily suspended development of its Denizen Hotels brand. Last week, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. filed a civil complaint against Hilton, alleging that two of its executives stole confidential information about Starwood's W hotel brand and used it to develop the Denizen chain.
Ross Klein and Amar Lalvani were both top executives in Starwood's luxury brands group prior to beginning employment with Hilton in June 2008. Starwood claims they stole more than 100,000 electronic files from the company with help from other Starwood employees they recruited to Hilton.
Judge Stephen Robinson of the Southern District of New York has issued an order for Hilton to suspend development (for at least 90 days) and return all of Starwood's documents and information to the company.
Starwood is seeking monetary damages from Hilton, Klein and Lalvani. Its complaint noted that Klein received a separation payment of more than $600,000 when he left Starwood.