Deere & Co. has dropped a federal lawsuit it filed against a former sales branch manager who left the company to work for one of its competitors.

Last month, the Moline-based equipment maker filed suit against Bill Hurley in U.S. District Court, Rock Island. According to court documents, Hurley, a 21-year Deere employee, resigned Oct. 2 after participating in a series of high-level, strategic and tactical meetings. Three days later, he accepted a position with AGCO Corp., one of Deere’s chief competitors.

Deere’s suit claimed that Hurley’s new duties with the Duluth, Ga.-based company “overlapped” his duties at Deere. It had asked the court to  restrain him  from working for AGCO for 18 months to keep him from disclosing  confidential information and trade secrets. 

In a news release Thursday, AGCO said Deere agreed to drop the suit after Hurley’s court filings in which he denied being in possession of any confidential information. He also stated that his new responsibilities do not conflict with any obligations or contractual agreements he had with Deere.

“Deere & Co. filed this lawsuit to protect Deere’s business interests,” Deere spokesman Ken Golden said in a news release. “Deere’s legal filings describe the basis for the lawsuit. Deere agreed to dismiss the litigation upon Mr. Hurley’s and AGCO’s written agreement to honor Mr. Hurley’s obligations to Deere. AGCO and Mr. Hurley have also agreed in writing to limit certain of Mr. Hurley’s responsibilities in order to eliminate any conflict with his obligations to Deere.”

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