Plastics Machinery Group has won a judgment of $714,630, plus court costs, against Brian Swain, a former salesman who left PMG in 2010 and started his own competing firm.
Judge John O'Donnell of Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court made the ruling on June 5.
PMG subsidiaries Thermoforming Machinery and Equipment and Extrusion Machinery and Equipment filed a lawsuit against Swain in late 2010. Swain countersued.
The two sides signed a settlement in 2011, but in 2015 Judge O'Donnell found Swain in contempt of court for violating a non-compete agreement. He asked both sides to come up with a monetary amount of a penalty.
Swain was hired in 2007 by Solon, Ohio-based PMG, which buys and sells plastics processing machinery. He signed a non-compete agreement in 2009, covering five years after he left the company, according to the suit.
Swain left in 2010 and started PlastiWin Capital Equipment LLC. But O'Donnell found that Swain violated the agreement's prohibitions against competition, solicitation of customers and use of PMG's trade secrets.
PMG and Swain hired their own financial people to come up with dollar amounts for the damages.
The judge ruled that Swain owes PMG $714,630 plus court costs, a figure that includes Swain's profit on sales of equipment from 2011 through 2015, along with PMG's expenses for a forensic expert to demonstrate Swain's breach of the agreement and his use of PMG's customer database and PMG's attorney fees.
PMG owner Donald Kruschke said in court that his companies have developed a database of about 30,000 accounts with 70,000 different individual contacts since the business started in 1990.
O'Donnell said PMG's customer database played a "vital role" in the case, and its use "gave Swain a head start in the plastics equipment business" and led to his turning an immediate profit, the first year, of $110,251.