A former salesman for Plastics Machinery Group has filed for personal bankruptcy, three weeks before a court hearing in Cleveland to determine the amount of damages he owes two subsidiaries of the Solon, Ohio-based PMG.
PMG issued a news release announcing the action. Brian Swain of Reminderville, Ohio, filed for personal bankruptcy on Oct. 29 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Akron, Ohio.
The damages hearing is set for Nov. 19 before Judge John O'Donnell of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in Cleveland. In July, Judge O'Donnell found Swain in contempt of court for violating a court order that prohibited him from competing with PMG subsidiaries Thermoforming Machinery and Equipment Inc. and Extrusion Machinery and Equipment Inc.
Those firms filed suit against Swain in late 2010, charging that their former salesman violated a non-compete agreement. He was hired in 2007 and signed the non-compete in 2009, covering five years after he left the company, according to the suit.
Swain left PMG in 2010 and started PlastiWin Capital Equipment LLC, which buys and sells plastics machinery. PMG owner Don Kruschke testified in court that his companies have developed a database of about 30,000 accounts, including 70,000 individual contacts, compiled since the business started in 1990. Swain had access to about 1,000 of the accounts, and the lawsuit charges he contacted some of them to try and sell plastics equipment, and had taken trade secrets.
Swain countersued. The two sides initially signed a settlement in 2011, but PMG said Swain continued to violate the agreement, and the judge found Swain in contempt.
Kruschke, president and CEO of PMG, said: “We intend to continue to pursue all available legal remedies to recover damages and prohibit Mr. Swain and PlastiWin from engaging in further unlawful conduct. We will pursue every asset and avenue available and will not stop until the wrong is righted.”