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Belron US Files Suit Against Two Former Employees to Prevent Solicitation, Violating Non-Compete Agreements

Belron US has filed complaints against two former employees to prevent them from allegedly disclosing the company's Belron's trade secrets, soliciting or attempting to solicit current Belron employees and from conspiring with others to do so. The suits were filed against Michelle Levesque of Fall Rivers, Mass., and Edward Lee of Fishkill, N.Y., in the U.S. District Courts for the Districts of Massachusetts and Southern New York, respectively, on Friday, August 15.

Belron US alleges that while still employed with Belron, "Levesque and Lee joined together to help establish a competing business venture and conspired to solicit current Belron employees to induce them to leave their employment with Belron and join [them] in their new venture, in violation of such employees' existing agreements with Belron," according to court documents.

Levesque previously served as Belron's director of best practices - operations and performed the duties of a district operations manager for the company. Lee served director of retail initiatives for the Columbus, Ohio-based company and had signed a non-compete agreement in May 2006. Both had previously worked for Diamond Glass, and were taken on as Belron US employees when it purchased Diamond's assets in June. Lee had signed a non-compete agreement with Diamond in May 2006, which Belron US claims was transferred to it with the asset sale. (CLICK HERE for related story.) Both Lee's and Levesque's employment with Belron US was terminated in late July, when Belron US allegedly discovered the actions claimed in the complaint.

According to court documents, current Belron US employees allegedly contacted and solicited by Lee and Levesque included David Dunn, regional director of the Northeast, Rob Roveto, regional sales manager for the Northeast, and Kristy Oliveira and Maria Karalis, assistant sales managers for territories in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Belron US claims that Karalis was told the new business would be operating in the New York, Connecticut and Boston areas.

In addition, the complaint alleges that Lee and Levesque asked each of those contacted for copies of their non-compete agreements, "and said there are 'ways around' those agreements, or words to that effect."

Likewise, the company alleges that Lee asked Roveto to save certain confidential financial information about Belron's business "because it would be helpful to them in their new business."

The respective complaints list numerous accounts against both Levesque and Lee, including Misappropriation of Trade Secrets, Breach of Contract (Lee only), Tortious Interference, Breach of Duty of Loyalty, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Aiding and Abetting Breach of Fiduciary Duty, and Civil Conspiracy to Tortiously Interfere with Contracts and Misappropriate Trade Secrets.

Belron US spokesperson Jenny Cain was not available for comment at press time. Levesque did not respond immediately to an e-mail, and the only known phone number for her has been disconnected. Likewise,™/AGRR magazine called the only known phone number for Lee and was advised it was a wrong number.

CLICK HERE for full text of complaint filed against Lee.

CLICK HERE for full text of complaint filed against Levesque.

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