Materials wholesaler sues employee for going to competitor

Kelly Holleran Aug. 9, 2012, 9:49am


A Texas company claims it lost substantial amounts of money after one of its employers defected to a competitor.

United Unlimited Sales filed a lawsuit July 27 in Jefferson County District Court against Donnie Landry.

In its complaint, United, a building material wholesaler, claims it hired Landry as a salesman in June 2007. Throughout the five years Landry worked for United, he acquired access to United's confidential and trade secrets with the understanding that the information was to remain confidential, according to the complaint.

"The family environment fostered at United allowed Mr. Landry to become familiar with almost all aspects of United's business," the suit states.

On March 15, Landry suddenly resigned from United, saying he did not know how he was going to pursue a living. However, before his resignation, Landry had begun talking with Silvaris Corp., which is a United competitor, the complaint says. The day following his resignation, Landry began working for Silvaris, United claims.

"This program is a bounty system where employees are rewarded for taking customers from their prior employer," the suit states. "Mr. Landry was advised that by starting his employment by activating a lot of new accounts, he would make a lot of money."

Landry used his trade secrets acquired from United to gain customers for Silvaris, causing United to lose customers, according to the complaint.

Not only did Landry steal customers from United, but he also took tens of thousands of dollars in a loan he failed to repay.

United claims it lent Landry $60,000, but he has failed to repay the money.

In its complaint, United seeks a judgment within the jurisdictional limits of Jefferson County District Court, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney's fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

John W. Johnson of Creighton, Fox, Johnson and Mills in Beaumont will be representing it.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. D192-749

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