An Indianapolis logistics company is suing a former executive, alleging he secretly created his own firm and funneled business there before abruptly resigning his post last month to run the business full-time.
Hoosier Logistics Inc., which is headquartered in the 100 block of East Market Street, claims Robert Sam Bush—former vice president of operations and business development—secretly siphoned business to his own firm for nearly three years. In April, he “quit Hoosier under suspicious circumstances,” according to the suit.
The lawsuit, filed May 5 in Marion Superior Court as a commercial case, alleges Bush formed Greenwood-based Simple Trucking LLC on Oct. 30, 2018—a fact confirmed by public records—just weeks after signing an employment contract with Hoosier that barred him from creating business entities that could be considered competitors to Hoosier.
The company learned of Simple Trucking only after Bush’s departure.
It alleges Bush breached his fiduciary duty of loyalty and breached his contract, while Simple Trucking, or STL, aided and abetted a breach of fiduciary duty; committed tortious interference with a contract; and was unjustly enriched by Bush’s actions.
The firm also alleges Bush is violating a non-solicitation clause that bars him from soliciting business from Hoosier Logistics customers or associates for at least 24 months following the end of his work with the company.
Bush has not yet filed a response to Hoosier’s allegations. He declined to comment when IBJ reached him by phone Wednesday morning.
According to the logistics company, Bush abused his access to confidential client files to build his own business by “secretly diverting Hoosier customers to [Simple Trucking], soliciting Hoosier customers on behalf of” his company and using sensitive information to operate his company behind the backs of Hoosier Logistics executives.
The use of this information for unauthorized purposes—such as using the information to make his own company—violates the Indiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act and is subject to the conversion and theft statutes under the Crime Victims Relief Act in state law, the suit alleges.
The “misappropriation and use of Hoosier’s trade secrets has caused damages and injury to” the company, according to the suit. “Further, it is inevitable that Bush and/or STL will continue to use such trade secrets and cause irreparable harm unless” they are stopped by the court from doing so.
In its lawsuit, Hoosier Logistics included a demand for a jury trial, along with injunctive relief that would stop Bush from utilizing his Hoosier contacts to bring in revenue for Simple Trucking.
It’s also seeking pecuniary damages that cover up to three times the amount of harm caused by Bush’s alleged actions, along with attorney’s fees and other court costs. And the company would like the court to create a constructive trust that captures all future revenue made by Simple Trucking as a result of Bush’s alleged actions.
Bush was employed by the company since 2016, during which time he also served as vice president of sales, leading the sales team and training employees to use the company’s information database to sell Hoosier’s services to would-be customers.
Bush quit Hoosier on April 19, “following months of shirking his responsibilities and alleging he was bored with logistics brokerage work,” the lawsuit states.
Bush said in an email announcing his resignation he was leaving Hoosier without a solid job lined up, noting he was dealing with personal matters that were a “distraction” from him doing his job effectively. Bush did not mention Simple Trucking in his email.