Car audio stores in litigation over non-compete agreement

David Yates Oct. 16, 2007, 9:34am

Performance Car Audio in Beaumont

A local car audio outlet is seeking an injunction against a former store manager who allegedly made off with company secrets, including customer lists, and opened his own store.

Bryan Kirbow Enterprises, doing business as Performance Car Audio, filed a petition and application for injunctive relief against John Blank and his new company, Elite Ridez, in the Jefferson County District Court on Oct. 15.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, Performance Car Audio has been doing business in the county for more than 10 years and has a location on Old Dowlen Road in Beaumont. In 2001, Performance hired Blank as a manager. Six year later, Blank quit and opened Elite Ridez in the city of Lumberton in Hardin County.

The suit says that Blank was responsible for the management and operations of the Beaumont store including the interviewing, hiring and managing employees. In his role as manager, Blank had access to information about Performance Car Audio, including customer lists, employee information, pricing and "other information of a confidential and proprietary nature."

Employment with Performance Car Audio also meant signing a Confidentiality and Non-Competition Agreement, which prohibited Blank from opening up a store in Jefferson, Orange, Hardin, Liberty, Chambers or Galveston counties.

"Performance would show that Blank terminated his employment…on Aug. 20, 2007, and…began business operations in direct competition with Performance in south Hardin County…which business is less than 10 miles from the Beaumont Performance premises," the suit said.

The plaintiff claims that not only violated the agreement by opening a competing store, but is also soliciting employees from Performance.

The defendant "willfully and intentionally induced said employees to terminate their employment with Performance and violate their own respective Confidentiality and Non-Competition Agreements," the original petition states.

The suit faults Blank with breach of contract and tortuous interference.

Performance is suing for a temporary and permanent injunction, all court costs, plus any relief the court deems suitable.

The company is represented by attorney James Wimberley of the McPherson, Monk, Hughes, Bradley, Wimberley & Steele law firm.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. E180-521

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