FleetPride Inc. alleges former employee shared confidential information with competitor TruckPro

By John Severance | Jul 31, 2017

HOUSTON – One of the top distributors of heavy duty truck and trailer parts in the United States filed suit against one of its former employees and top competitor and was asking for a temporary restraining order against the defendants.

The suit was filed in Harris County District Court on July 17 and the plaintiff is listed as FleetPride Inc. and the defendants are David Powell and TruckPro LLC.

For four years, Powell, an Arizona resident, worked for FleetPride in its Phoenix office and on the day he was hired, he signed a confidentiality agreement, the suit states.

The complaint states that Powell came up with a plan to take sensitive, customer, vendor and financial information to obtain a job with TruckPro.

On June 30, a co-worker allegedly heard Powell telling a representative of TruckPro that he had downloaded and printed information about FleetPride’s customers. The information allegedly included the products and volume of what the FleetPride customers were buying and the prices associated with the products.

The complaint said, "Powell then told this co-worker that he was going to 'go after' and target FleetPride accounts, naming over a dozen specific accounts with whom he had worked and developed relationships while employed with FleetPride and further implying he intended to use the customer information he wrongfully obtained to do so."

Powell also allegedly deleted texts from his company cellphone and stated it was his plan to run a magnet across his company laptop.

FleetPride eventually found out about Powell’s alleged plan and it conducted a review of phone records and a forensic examination of the company-issued email account.

According to the complaint, the mobile phone records revealed between April 24 and June 29, Powell spent more than five hours in the course of 46 calls to members of TruckPro’s mobile power group, including the outside sales representative and company manager.

The suit states that forensic examination of the email account revealed that on May 2, Powell forwarded a confidential excel spreadsheet containing 400,000 lines and 22 columns of data to his personal email. The data detailed the cost and sale of every part sold by FleetPride’s mobile power group in 2016 and 2016 nationwide.

On May 16, Powell allegedly forwarded another customer detail report concerning sales in the Phoenix market and on June 29, Powell forwarded more financial sales data that was in a confidential report.

The complaint said, "armed with FleetPride’s mobile power sales list, customer detail report and financial and sales data, Powell and TruckPro are in a position to unfairly compete with FleetPride, using FleetPride’s own confidential information and trade secrets as ammunition."

The suit states FleetPride sent a letter to its competitor June 30 informing it of Powell’s nondisclosure obligations and requesting assurance that its confidential and trade secret information was not being used.

According to the complaint, TruckPro was given a deadline of July 12 to respond but failed to do so.

On July 10, FleetPride confirmed that Powell began his employment with TruckPro in its Phoenix facility. FleetPride also claims Powell has been soliciting old customers on the behalf of his new employer.

According to the complaint, FleetPride is requesting a temporary restraining order, temporary injunction and a permanent injunction ordering Powell not to use his former employer’s information.

FleetPride also wants Powell to turn over all documents and storage devices containing the plaintiff’s secret information.

FleetPride also is looking for actual and exemplary damages, attorney fees, and court costs.

Representing FleetPride is the Dallas firm of Estes, Thorne and Carr PLLC.

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