Veterinarians file counterclaim against Iowa State

Paige Godden

Iowa State released a statement Thursday morning regarding a counterclaim to a lawsuit the university filed against four workers at Iowa Veterinary Specialties.

A preliminary statement claims that on Feb. 11, ISU Veterinary Services Corporation sued Steven Reimer, Derek Nestor, Stan Wagner, Paul Hanika and Iowa Veterinary Referral Center.

“Veterinary Services brought suit after discovering not only that Drs. Reimer and Nestor intended to compete against it in direct violation of their covenants not to compete, but that they used their employer’s resources and personnel to establish their competing venture while continuing to and accept pay from that employer,” according to the statement.

The statement alleges that, “Further reflecting their misbehavior, Drs. Nestor and Reimer also attached USB drives to their computers to download information just before they left their employment … Dr. Nestor went online to view methods of wiping his employment hard drive to obliterate evidence. On his last day of employment at 11:42 a.m., Dr. Nestor put his plan to spoliate evidence into action by attempting to install, and run, a scrubbing software aptly named ‘KillDisk’ on his employers computer.”

The statement says Hanika allegedly assisted them in violating their covenants not to compete and create a competing venture by helping draft a business plan, helping arrange a lease, by setting up meetings for the conspirators with his employer’s vendors, using his employer’s computer forwarding IVS’s confidential financial information, and arranging classes on operating a competing business.

A reply to defendants’ resistance to ISU Veterinary Services Corporation’s motion for preliminary injunction says, “In an ironic twist, employees who, while still employed, covertly used their employer’s time, equipment and employees to form a competing company in violation of their fiduciary duties and/or contracts by suggesting Iowa State is a villain.”

The defendants alleged that they are disadvantaged by Iowa State for not being able to purchase their former employer’s business.

The reply says the, “Defendants also claim that Iowa State somehow misled the State Board of Regents to provide this benefit to its students and to the state.”

The reply goes on to say that the, “Defendants insist they are highly leveraged and face bankruptcy if they cannot continue breaching their contracts.”

The statement the university released said that Iowa State acquired Iowa Veterinary Specialties Corporation for the right reasons: to provide the best education for students and to improve veterinary care in Iowa.

“The owners of Iowa Veterinary Specialties approached ISU about buying the clinic. The owners evaluated a number of proposals from potential purchasers,” according to the statement. “In the purchase of such a business, there are standard agreements to assure the success of the venture. These prudent business arrangements don’t violate antitrust laws. Throughout this litigation we have sought to preserve the investment made in the clinic, and to assure that the former clinicians of IVS meet the obligations in contracts that they signed.”

Iowa State bought the clinic in February for $4.56 million.

Paul Tanaka, university counsel for ISU Student Legal Services, said the university is expecting a ruling from the federal court shortly.

“We stand ready to present our case in court,” according to the statement.