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An anxious Tyco International has asked a trial judge in West Palm Beach to bar a former company executive from answering questions in a deposition for fear he would expose “valuable company secrets.” But the Palm Beach Circuit Court judge took no action Monday on the deposition scheduled for this morning. The industrial conglomerate, whose former chief executive officer and chief financial officer are on trial in New York State Supreme Court on criminal charges, urged in its complaint that Scott Stevenson, a former Tyco senior vice president on tax matters, be prevented from testifying until he clears with the company in advance any answers he might give in the deposition. Last Friday, Tyco filed suit for an injunction to prevent Stevenson from submitting to questions by Boca Raton lawyer Adam H. Smith. In its complaint, Tyco claims that Stevenson had access to “a wealth of confidential and proprietary information and company trade secrets, including but not limited to confidential and proprietary tax strategies … [and] corporate audit strategies with respect to the Internal Revenue Service and other federal and state revenue agencies.” The complaint alleges that any statement by Stevenson, a lawyer, would violate the lawyer-client privilege as well as Florida’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The suit was filed on Tyco’s behalf by Terence G. O’Connor, a partner in the Miami office of Morgan Lewis & Bockius. O’Connor referred all questions to Tyco executives in Princeton, N.J. Tyco is a Bermuda corporation that does most of its business out of Princeton. A Tyco spokesman said the company does not comment on pending legal matters. Smith refused comment. So did Carolyn Miller, an associate at the New York law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, which has represented Stevenson on other matters. The complaint had not reached Circuit Judge David Crow on Monday afternoon, according to his office, leaving the judge without a complaint on which to rule. Enclosed with the complaint was a copy of Tyco’s “Standards of Conduct” along with a signed admission by Stevenson that he’d seen the document and agreed to abide by it. The document forbids employees to reveal confidential company information. Also enclosed was a letter from Smith to Tyco general counsel William Lytton informing the company that Stevenson would be testifying at the deposition “under oath and before a certified court reporter.” Enclosed also were letters from Tyco senior litigation counsel John S. Jenkins Jr., demanding that Smith provide him with information “to clarify the nature of the matter and subjects you propose to cover in your questioning” as well as any subpoena requiring Stevenson to testify. The complaint’s supporting material also included a “Dear Scott” letter from Jenkins to Stevenson, in care of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, saying that, “We would expect that any statement you give that relates to Tyco business will be available to us and to any agencies who may require information of us in connection with any ongoing or later investigations.” Tyco is an industrial conglomerate with 260,000 employees. The company’s former chief executive, L. Dennis Kozlowski, and former chief financial officer, Mark H. Swartz, are charged with grand larceny, securities fraud and other crimes in connection with $56 million in bonuses and other improper compensation they allegedly gave to other executives and about $100 million they allegedly took for themselves. Kozlowski is accused of improperly borrowing nearly $62 million from the company and Swartz $33 million. Each has denied guilt in what prosecutors say was ultimately a $600 million fraud scheme. Each faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Stevenson was listed by the company as one of seven key executives who received a relocation loan later forgiven in the form of a bonus that federal prosecutors say was improper.

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