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After dispute, Md. programmer ordered not to distribute code

Bethesda educational consulting company alleges former contractor has kept proprietary information

ROCKVILLE – A Bethesda company that assists students with college and graduate school admissions won a temporary restraining order last week against a Silver Spring computer programmer who it claims has retained his work as well as proprietary information after failing to perform on a contract.

College Hounds LLC argued Naveed Nadjmabadi breached his contract and non-disclosure agreement by not returning the company’s intellectual property upon termination of the relationship earlier this year, as well as threatening to distribute trade secrets.

A Montgomery County Circuit Court judge granted the temporary restraining order following a hearing Dec. 15 that prohibits Nadjmabadi from distributing the code developed for College Hounds or any information gained during the course of work performed for College Hounds.

A hearing on College Hounds’ request for a preliminary injunction is set for Jan. 13, the day the order expires.

College Hounds hired Nadjmabadi to develop code for its website in April with an Aug. 15 deadline, according to the complaint, filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court on Dec. 1.

After signing a contract June 1, which included a non-disclosure agreement and stipulation that all of Nadjmabadi’s work would be the property of College Hounds, Nadjmabadi “failed to work in a diligent manner on the project,” and required multiple extensions, according to the complaint.

Nadjmabadi informed College Hounds he would need to bring in a second programmer because he did not have the expertise to complete the project, which College Hounds did, according to the complaint.

In early September, Nadjmabadi told College Hounds he needed an increased fee to complete the work and was paid an additional $5,000 with a deadline of Oct. 15, according to the complaint. By early October, Nadjmabadi began referring to the product as the “1.0 version” and promised to continue working on a “1.1 version” after the deadline for free.

Nadjmabadi refused to take payment for the incomplete product Oct. 15. Four days later, however, Nadjmabadi stated he would no longer work on the product and demanded full payment, threatening to withhold the code, according to the complaint.

Nadjmabadi is represented by Rockville solo practitioner Michael S. Krotman, who did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

College Hounds has alleged fraud, misrepresentation, breach of contract, breach of a confidential relationship, misappropriation of trade secrets, and requests injunctive relief. The company is seeking $100,000 in compensatory damages.

The case is College Hounds LLC v. Naveed Nadjmabadi, 412412V.