Columbia Sportswear and Denali Advanced Integration have settled a lawsuit related to a former Columbia employee who continued to access company systems after taking a job at Denali. The employee, who pleaded guilty to the criminal charge of accessing a protected computer without authorization, was sentenced to probation in December.

Share story

Columbia Sportswear has agreed to end its lawsuit against the Redmond-based company whose former employee admitted to illegally accessing Columbia’s systems.

The Portland clothing maker sued Denali Advanced Integration and then-chief technology officer  Michael Leeper last year, claiming that Leeper had accessed internal company documents hundreds of times after leaving Columbia to join Denali in 2014.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, Columbia and Denali said there was no evidence that anyone else at Denali was involved in intrusions to Columbia’s systems.

“The parties acknowledge that the investigation into this matter has yielded no evidence that anyone other than Leeper, a rogue employee, committed the hacking, no other Denali employee had improper access to Columbia’s systems, and no other Denali employee encouraged or directed Leeper’s misconduct,” the statement said.

The companies didn’t disclose the settlement’s terms.

Denali packages software and hardware products and other information technology services that it sells on to corporate customers like Columbia.

Leeper last year pleaded guilty to a count of accessing a protected computer without authorization, and in December was sentenced to three years’ probation and 400 hours of community service. He also agreed to pay Columbia restitution of $34,479 to cover legal fees and other costs related to the breach.

Columbia’s lawsuit said that, on Leeper’s second to last day at Columbia, he created a network account under a false name, Jeff Manning, and gave that account wide permissions to access company email accounts. (Jeff Manning is also the name of the reporter at the Oregonian newspaper who had covered Columbia.)

Columbia said Leeper’s intrusions into its systems using the dummy email account targeted email accounts of employees responsible for buying the types of technology products sold by Denali, as well as budgets for upgrades to Columbia’s technology.

After detecting the intrusions during an upgrade of its email systems, Columbia brought on outside legal help and asked the FBI for assistance investigating the source of the breach.