WICHITA, Kan. (July 19, 2011) — A Kansas district court judge has denied Goodyear's motion for a preliminary injunction against Continental Tire the Americas L.L.C. and former Goodyear employee David Young in a trade secrets case.
Judge Kenneth G. Gale issued a “text order” July 13 denying the Goodyear motion, according to Bryan W. Smith, the Topeka attorney representing Mr. Young. Mr. Smith said he expected Judge Gale to issue a full written order, but did not know when he would do so. “Your guess is as good as mine,” he said.
Goodyear filed a complaint against Mr. Young and Conti in Cleveland federal district court June 14, accusing Mr. Young of violating a non-disclosure agreement he signed when he went to work for Goodyear in Topeka in 2002.
As a manager at the Topeka factory, Mr. Young had constant access to the inner workings of Goodyear's manufacturing processes, including its proprietary “lean manufacturing” process, Goodyear said in its suit.
The Akron-based tire maker's non-disclosure agreement forbade Mr. Young from taking a job with any other tire maker for two years after leaving Goodyear. When Mr. Young requested a waiver from the agreement in May 2011 to take a position with Conti at its Mount Vernon, Ill., facility, Goodyear denied it.
The following month, when Mr. Young joined Conti anyway, Goodyear filed suit for a court order banning Conti from hiring Mr. Young before May 21, 2013, and ordering Conti to pay an unstipulated sum for damages attorneys' fees and court costs.
In his brief before the Kansas court, Mr. Young claimed Goodyear forced him to sign the non-disclosure agreement after he started work at the Topeka facility.
“The restriction upon (Mr. Young's) employment for a period of two years with any entity that (Goodyear) deems to be a conflicting business is against public policy and is an undue restraint upon the freedom to contract for future employment,” Mr. Young's brief said.
All the legal actions, including Goodyear's suit filed in Cleveland, have now been combined before the Kansas court, according to Mr. Smith.
“Mr. Young felt very strongly he had not done anything wrong,” Mr. Smith told Tire Business. Unless otherwise resolved, the case should now proceed to discovery and trial, he added.
Attorneys for Goodyear and Conti could not be reached for comment.
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