XPO accuses two competitors of stealing employees and trade secrets

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Theft, cover-ups and a website used to entice employees. They are all there in two separate lawsuits XPO Logistics has filed against YRC Freight and R&L Carriers with accusations of poaching employees of former Con-way, court documents reveal.

YRC lawsuit
In a lawsuit filed at the Delaware Court of Chancery, XPO claims that YRC approached two Con-way executives – Vice President of Central Area Operations Paul Lorensen and Vice President of Line-Haul Robert Richardson – shortly after the logistics company announced plans to acquire Con-way. The lawsuit alleges that YRC offered the executives a job no later than Sept. 19, 2015, just 10 days after the acquisition was announced. XPO closed the Con-way deal on Oct. 30.

However, formal written offers for both executives were delayed from Oct. 6 to Nov. 3 because “it would be safer,” the lawsuit states. On Nov. 9, both Lorensen and Richardson submitted their resignation letters to XPO effective immediately and went to work for YRC in positions XPO considers “substantively indistinguishable” from their roles at XPO.

Lorensen had complete access to sensitive information related to XPO’s freight operations, including customer, financial and strategic information, the lawsuit asserts.

XPO claims that Lorensen and Richardson attempted to cover their tracks. The lawsuit mentions that both executives deliberately reset their company-issued iPhones before resigning. Lorensen had reset his phone the evening of Nov. 7 and Richardson’s phone was reset the morning of Nov. 9. Richardson also had a company-issued iPad 2 Air that was reset on the evening of Nov. 8. All data and forensic evidence was destroyed as a result, the lawsuit claims. XPO accuses both executives of using USB storage devices to extract information from company laptops.

R&L Carriers lawsuit
In an unrelated lawsuit filed on Feb. 3 at a U.S. District Court in Michigan, XPO is suing Ohio-based company R&L Carriers for trademark infringement, cyber piracy, unfair competition, stealing trade secrets and breach of contract for its attempt to hire employees of the former Con-way.

One day after XPO closed the acquisition of Con-way, R&L launched the website www.ConwayLayoff.com. The website was used to entice Con-way employees to seek employment at R&L, the lawsuit claims. In fact, R&L even issued a press release stating its intent to target Con-way employees via the website.

Two days later, XPO sent R&L a cease-and-desist letter, including any other attempts to raid, target and otherwise solicit XPO employees. R&L used both the Con-way name and logo on its website. The website was removed the next day, but XPO claims R&L continued to target Con-way employees.

At least eight Con-way employees resigned and went to work for R&L, the lawsuit alleges.

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