One of the valley’s oldest construction firms is suing a Glenwood Springs couple, alleging that they set up their own enterprise and stole customers — all while still working for the company.
Myers and Co.’s lawsuit against Daniel and Nicole Capehart and their two companies was filed Feb. 7 in Garfield County District Court. The Basalt-based plaintiff specializes in structural and ornamental steel products, and also rents out cranes and other heavy equipment for construction contractors.
Myers and Co. employed Daniel Capehart as a project manager and Nicole Capehart as a detailer and designer, according to the lawsuit.
On Oct. 1, Daniel Capehart resigned, giving five days notice. His wife was fired four days later, the lawsuit says.
Myers and Co. on July 7 allegedly discovered that Daniel Capehart had, while on the Myers clock, researched how to form a limited liability company in order to compete with his then-employer. Three days later, he formed Tangible Concepts LLC, wrote Aspen attorney Chad Schmit, who is representing the plaintiff.
Also that month, the Capeharts, again during working hours for their then-employer, “solicited and stole Myers’ existing customers … performed work for at least one Myers customer on Myers’ time and instructed the customer to make a check payable to Tangible Concepts instead of Myers for the service … [and] ordered equipment for Tangible Concepts in order to compete with Myers,” the lawsuit says.
Messages left with the Capeharts about the allegations were not returned.
Daniel Capehart, two days before announcing his resignation, allegedly emailed his wife Myers’ 250-page customer list, vendor lists and vendor contact information, and also sent a “blast” email to Myers customers “soliciting them for his competing business,” Schmit wrote.
In late October, the Capeharts formed another company, Peak Architectural Metals.
In response to a cease-and-desist letter, Daniel Capehart replied that he and his wife do not possess any of Myers’ proprietary information, including the customer list. The lawsuit says this is not true.
Judge Denise Lynch of Garfield County District Court on Feb. 9 approved a temporary restraining order that prohibits the defendants from using the customer list.
The lawsuit includes claims for misappropriation of trade secrets and conversion.