Buckhead Beef, an Atlanta-based meat purveyor that is part of the Sysco family of companies, has filed suit against the co-owners of a new Atlanta meat company. Buckhead filed a complaint in federal court against Chad Stine and Jason Lees, co-owners of the new Revere Meat Co. The lawsuit alleges Stine, former president of Buckhead Beef, and Lees, a former buyer, stole the company's trade secrets and confidential information in order to establish a competing business that poaches from its customer base, reports the Atlanta Business Journal.
Stine resigned from Buckhead Beef on October 3, 2014. According to the complaint, “Stine misrepresented his post-employment plans to Buckhead Beef and instead chose to form a competitor. In advance of his departure from Buckhead Beef, Stine forwarded to himself and to Lees confidential and trade secret information for their use at Revere.”
The suit also alleges that Stine sold Certified Angus Beef products below market rates to a company named Purely Gourmet, which passed the prices along to Freedom Meats Inc.
“In so doing, Stine deprived Buckhead Beef of substantial sums by selling valuable inventory for below-market rates and instead enabled Freedom Meats to cause substantial damage to Buckhead Beef’s corporate siblings – Desert Meats and Newport Meat Company – in the Las Vegas market. Freedom Meats’ President is Jeff Pugh, who is also a recently departed executive of Desert Meats and is a close friend of Stine,” the suit states.
Buckhead Beef alleges that Stine sent a copy of Buckhead’s Yield Formulas Spreadsheet to a personal e-mail account. That document allows a user to plug in the per-pound meat price of any one of 5,750 different cuts of meat and then determine the yielded meat cost after processing the particular cut.
“The Yield Formulas Spreadsheet is literally the most important document at Buckhead Beef because it allows the company to have accurate cost information for its beef processing operations. The Yield Formulas Spreadsheet would also be vital for any new beef processing company to have because it would take years to create a similar document on its own,” the suit states.
Buckhead Beef is seeking an injunction to prevent Revere Meat from using or accessing Buckhead Beef’s confidential information or from soliciting its customers. It is also seeking “appropriate monetary damages against Defendants.”
Source: Atlanta Business Journal