A Westmoreland County car dealership claims a local competitor conspired with a group of employees to steal part of its business.
According to a 15-count lawsuit, North Huntingdon-based Kenny Ross Auto Group contends six former workers banded together this month to steal clients, data and purposefully worked to take the dealership’s fleet management division, which sells and leases vehicles to large commercial entities, to rival C. Harper Auto Group in Rostraver.
On Wednesday, Casey Harper Jr., general manager, released the following statement:
”C. Harper Auto Group is aware of recent filings … regarding alleged actions by our employees. While we are unable to comment specifically on any allegation, we believe any accusation made by our competitor … to be erroneous. We will vigorously prove these claims to be unfounded as we proceed through the legal process.”
Six employees quit together March 8 and immediately went to work for C. Harper, the lawsuit contends. In the weeks before they left, the workers took records, led clients to believe Kenny Ross’ fleet management division was about to close and allowed contracts to expire, including one that provided vehicles to the state government, according to the lawsuit.
“They also deleted work files and other data, and even removed trash all in an effort to conceal their wrongdoing,” wrote Kenny Ross attorney Jonathan Ziss of Philadelphia.
The “concerted and wrongful action” was “bent on exploiting the confidential and proprietary business information” of (Kenny Ross) to damage their reputation and goodwill for (C.Harper’s) competitive advantage,” Ziss wrote.
Officials at C. Harper knew or should have known of the plans, the lawsuit states.
Kenny Ross seeks unspecified monetary damages and wants a judge to order all property taken returned to the dealership.
“We’re confident the evidence will bear out the evidence in the court papers. We believe there has been very serious misconduct,” Ziss said.