Maryland-based Smyth Jewelers has filed suit against former execs Mark Motes and John Jackson III, alleging they are improperly using company information to launch a rival jewelry store.
Chief operating officer Motes and vice president of operations Jackson, who long ran Smyth’s day-to-day business, departed the three-store chain last year after members of the founding family took control of the company.
An amended complaint filed May 31 in Maryland district court charges that Jackson now has control of files that were stored in a company Dropbox account, which detail customer names, contact information, purchase history, and other business information.
It notes that Jackson and Motes have since formed Meritage Fine Jewelers, which they plan to open this summer. Meritage’s first store, it adds, will be located less than eight-tenths of a mile from Smyth’s Timonium, Md., flagship. It believes Meritage eventually plans to open four stores.
The suit also alleges that Motes owes his former company money and violated the non-compete terms of his contract.
Also named in the suit are former Smyth employees Brian McCullough and Mason Motes (Mark’s son).
Motes’ lawyer did not return an email requesting comment. But she told Baltimore Business Journal that he “denies all the allegations.”
A motion to dismiss in response to the original complaint called the suit an “attempt to prevent [Motes] from engaging in future employment that Plaintiffs fear may compete with the Smyth business empire.”
(Image courtesy of Smyth Jewelers)