Summa Industries has filed a civil lawsuit against Waypoint LLC and several former officers and employees of Summa subsidiary Manchester Plastics Co. Inc.
Defendants include Waypoint, former Manchester President Steven Strawn and others.
The company filed the July 15 litigation in Superior Court in Compton, Calif., ``in connection with their departure from Manchester and the formation of Waypoint as a competitor,'' Summa said in a news release.
The individuals ``appear to be targeting Manchester customers,'' Torrance Calif.-based Summa said.
Waypoint has leased a 40,000-square-foot facility in Rancho Dominguez, Calif., and is 60-90 days from full operations, Strawn said in a July 16 telephone interview. Waypoint plans to manufacture extruded sheet and create proprietary value-added products such as skylights for the specialty marketplace.
``I am confident I have the people and wherewithal to do what I need to do,'' Strawn said. He was Manchester's president for 12 years under three ownerships until April 28, when Summa ``fired me, and I started my own company,'' he said.
Craig Stein, a lawyer with the Los Angeles law firm of Gartenberg Jaffe Gelfand & Stein, was the agent in Waypoint's May 5 filing as a California limited liability company.
Manchester extrudes plastic sheet for industrial and distributor markets and operates in a leased, 60,000-square-foot plant in Chatsworth, Calif. The unit employs 50-60 and makes proprietary items and custom products of acrylic, polycarbonate and polystyrene sheet, primarily for building materials and industrial applications.
Manchester's business ``represents less than 2 percent of the U.S. supply of these products,'' Summa said. ``While the ultimate effect of [Waypoint's formation] cannot be predicted, the results of Manchester may be adversely affected in the near term.''
The company said Manchester represents 8 percent of Summa's pretax profit and 14 percent of its sales. Summa reported profit of $3.4 million on sales of $66.4 million for the nine months ended May 31.
Summa employs about 700 at nine plants in California, Michigan, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Florida. Summa's $31.7 million October acquisition of Calnetics Corp. included Manchester Plastics and two other units, Ny-Glass of Corona, Calif., and API, with locations in Ontario, Calif., and Winter Haven, Fla.
In late June, four employees left Continental Acrylics Inc. of Compton, Calif., to join Waypoint, according to Tom Branhan, Continental general manager.
Continental Acrylics employs 70 and makes acrylic pellets and plastic sheet, Branhan said. Continental's sheet operation employs 24, has one manufacturing line and accounted for 1997 sales of $9 million of a company total of $27 million.