CLEVELAND (June 23, 2011)—Goodyear has sued against Continental Tire The Americas L.L.C., seeking a court order enjoining Conti from hiring a former manager of the Goodyear plant in Topeka, Kan.
Goodyear filed its complaint June 14 before the Cleveland federal district court.
According to the complaint, David Young signed a non-disclosure agreement when he joined Goodyear in 2002. Young agreed not to reveal any of Goodyear's trade secrets to competitors.
The agreement included a provision that Young not take a job with a competitor within two years of leaving Goodyear unless he submitted a request for a waiver—a waiver Goodyear could deny if it felt Young's promises of non-disclosure were insufficient to protect the company's interests.
While at Topeka, Young had constant access to the inner workings of Goodyear's manufacturing processes, including its proprietary “lean manufacturing” process, Goodyear said.
Young submitted a waiver request to Goodyear on May 5, explaining he had been offered a job at Conti's plant in Mt. Vernon, Ill. Goodyear denied the waiver May 18, and offered to hold Young's job open for him at Topeka, according to the complaint.
On June 8, Young's attorney notified Goodyear that Young intended to join Conti. The next day, Goodyear sent Conti a letter saying Young was still bound by his non-disclosure agreement and that Conti's employing him under those circumstances would constitute unlawful interference with that agreement. Conti replied that Young had already started with Conti.
Goodyear seeks a court order banning Conti from hiring Young before May 21, 2013; banning Conti from violating either the terms of the non-disclosure agreement or the provisions of the Ohio Uniform Trade Secrets Act; and directing Conti to pay an unstipulated sum for damages, attorneys' fees and court costs.
A hearing on Goodyear's motion for a preliminary injunction is scheduled for July 11. Mitchell Blair, an attorney for Conti, could not be reached for comment.