Firms being sued by Toro Co. for more than $50,000 for unfair competition may get a month-long delay in the case after they filed a motion to transfer the suit to another jurisdiction. Grizzle & Hunter Plastic Inc. of Temecula, Calif., filed a motion Dec. 28 to move the case from U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles to the Eastern Division of Central Division of California in Riverside.
Toro is suing Grizzle & Hunter and two related firms - all managed and owned by three former Toro employees - alleging the employees ``misappropriated valuable trade secrets'' and are competing unfairly against Toro's plastic sprinkler head and irrigation business.
Grizzle & Hunter's motion is scheduled to be heard Jan. 27, about a month after Toro expected the firms to answer its lawsuit and provide information as part of the case's discovery process, according to R. Lawrence Buckley, Toro's senior intellectual property lawyer.
Junelle Grizzle said in a telephone interview that Grizzle & Hunter made the motion because ``all parties involved are located in Riverside County'' and that commute times to Los Angeles are lengthy. Buckley described the motion as a delaying tactic and expects Toro to oppose it.
Junelle Grizzle was manager of customer administration at Toro's irrigation division molding operation in Riverside. Her husband, Glendale Grizzle, was head of the molding operation. Edwin Hunter, another formerToro employee, also is involved in Grizzle & Hunter, Grizzle Y Hunter, and Bear Irrigation, a marketing subsidiary.
Junelle Grizzle said her firm ``is on the verge'' of marketing its own plastic sprinkler head for golf course irrigation, which it claims has ``features and benefits over those offered by Toro and are less expensive.'' She said her firm started up two years ago and has been molding fluid-handling components and other custom molded products. She would not disclose the size of the company.