Bona Yoo, a sales director at Lévy Gorvy.

Bona Yoo Files Countersuit Against Lehmann Maupin

In late November 2018, Lehmann Maupin gallery sued Bona Yoo—a former director who joined Lévy Gorvy gallery in New York as sales director earlier that month—for allegedly stealing trade secrets. Last week, Yoo responded with a countersuit.  

Artnet reports that Yoo filed a complaint against Lehmann Maupin in a New York federal district courthouse on February 8. The suit claims that Lehmann Maupin acted “to spite its former employee” for pursuing “a promising career opportunity at another prominently-known art gallery.”

In an updated suit Lehmann Maupin filed in January, the gallery alleges that Yoo “surreptitiously copied valuable trade secrets” from her former employer’s computer systems and “maliciously corrupted” and deleted important information from its database. 

Yoo claims that she deleted certain personal files because she felt some of her clients would not want their information remaining at Lehmann Maupin once she was no longer there. In her suit, she argues that Lehmann Maupin does not own the data she allegedly stole, since the gallery is not an organization that develops technologies that must be protected—in contrast to a software or biotech firm, for example—and many of the clients were brought to the gallery by Yoo. It also states that “her new employer” has no intention of pursuing Lehmann Maupin’s clients.

Yoo’s court papers go on to say that back in November, Lehmann Maupin threatened to file a restraining order against her if she did not return the information she erased. In doing so, Yoo claims, Lehmann Maupin violated the terms of their separation agreement, which states they will not “impugn, disparage, or defame” each other. Yoo delivered the gallery a copy of the flash drive holding the data it wanted later that day. 

Dominique Lévy previously stated that she and Lévy Gorvy, where Yoo is now a sales director, stand behind her. Yoo’s attorney, Tibor Nagy, told Artnet: “Lehmann Maupin brought this lawsuit purely out of spite towards a former employee who, in Lehmann Maupin’s own words, was ‘a valuable leader at the gallery.’ Ms. Yoo intends to vigorously defend herself against her former employer’s baseless and vengeful claims.”