SAVANNAH, Ga. (CN) – A Georgia woman feigned interest in buying a Segway-based guided tour company in Savannah only to steal the owners’ ideas and set up a competing business of her own, the aggrieved couple claims.
In a complaint filed July 9, Lynn and Harry Green say they’ve “spent years perfecting the organizing and giving of tours in the Savannah area on two-wheeled electric vehicles” and “developing a successful financial model and creating a series of informal tour scripts to best serve the needs visiting tour groups.”
In August 2014, the couple decided to sell the business, called Green Transports Inc., and through a broker met defendant Lisa Pritchard, who “expressed her interested in purchasing Green Transports.”
On November 4, 2014, the complaint says, Pritchard signed a non-disclosure agreement allowing her “to evaluate Green Transports’ trade secrets, including sensitive financial and business operation data, while simultaneously protecting such information and trade secrets from disclosure and use by Defendant Pritchard.”
According to the Greens, in signing the nondisclosure agreement, Pritchard also agreed not to solicit Green Transports’ staff.
Soon after signing the agreement, Pritchard made an offer to the Greens, who countered by asking for more. A few weeks later, however, Pritchard met with Tess Scheer who worked as a manager at Green Transports between 2011 to March of 2015.
“Defendant Pritchard ceased her efforts to purchase Green Transports from Harry and Lynn Green after dinner with Defendant Scheer,” the complaint says. Scheer then terminated her employment at Green Transports on March 14, 2015, “after telling Mr. Green that ‘an opportunity to [sic] good to pass up’ had arisen.'”
On or about March 2015 in Savannah, Pritchard opened Adventure Tours in Motion. The Greens claim that Pritchard is “utilizing the financial, proprietary, and other trade secret information that she obtained from Green Transports.”
Defendant Scheer began working at Adventure Tours in Motion “on or about March 16, 2015.”
Pritchard declined to comment on the lawsuit when contacted by Courthouse News, explaining “we just received the papers and I haven’t had time to review them yet.”
The Greens seek compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief, on claims of breach of contract, violation of the Georgia Trade Secrets Act, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of duty of loyalty.
The Greens’ attorney, Paul Threlkeld, also declined to comment.
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