Buckhead Beef takes competition to court
Dec. 1, 2014
by Meat&Poultry Staff
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ATLANTA – Buckhead Beef, a business unit of Sysco Corp. and a supplier of meat-based proteins to the foodservice market, filed a federal complaint against rival meat purveyor, Revere Meat Co. and its owners.
Buckhead Beef alleges Chad Stine, former president of Buckhead Beef, and Jason Lees, a former buyer, misappropriated trade secrets and other confidential information to establish a competing business. Buckhead Beef also claims that Stine, who resigned in October, misrepresented his post-employment plans. Also, the company alleges Stine forwarded confidential and trade secret information to himself and Lees before leaving Buckhead Beef.
One particular document at issue is a Yield Formulas Spreadsheet, which Buckhead Beef describes as “literally the most important document at Buckhead Beef because it allows the company to have accurate cost information for its beef processing operations.”
“The reason why the Yield Formulas Spreadsheet is so valuable is that it allows its owner to plug in the per-pound meat price for any one of 5,750 different cuts of meat and then determine the yielded meat cost after processing the particular cut,” the lawsuit explained. “The Yield Formulas Spreadsheet contains specific information for the labor costs associated with each cut of beef, the yield in terms of the number of cuts from a larger slab, and the credit costs associated with the cut. This information has been developed over the course of years by Buckhead Beef.”
The lawsuit states that Buckhead Beef already has lost business because of the alleged information breach, including Copper River Grill, which has eight locations in the Carolinas. An email exchange discusses Copper River Grill terminating its business relationship with Buckhead Beef and starting a relationship with Revere Meat Co.
“The customers that Stine and Revere are targeting represent tens of millions of dollars of revenue for Buckhead Beef on an annual basis,” the complaint states. “Moreover, these customers have long-term relationships with Buckhead Beef such that Buckhead Beef cannot put a value on its connections with the customers.”
Buckhead Beef is seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent Revere, Stine and Lees from using, accessing or disclosing any confidential and proprietary information. Buckhead also wants confidential information returned to the company.