Thursday, October 2, 2014

Legal Battle Breaks Out in Indianapolis Volleyball Community

On Wednesday, the Indiana Volleyball Club (IVC), which operates out of the Incredi-Plex on the far east side of Indianapolis, filed a voluminous lawsuit against the newly-formed Academic Volleyball Club (AVC), as well as its Executive Director Emily Hawthorne.  Hawthorne had previously been employed by IVC as Volleyball Coordinator and still appears on the IVC's website in that capacity.  The lawsuit also names eight coaches of the IVC who left to join the AVC, including Emily's husband, Steve.

The lawsuit alleges that when Hawthorne left she utilized IVC client emails to recruit clients for AVC and redirected the IVC's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to AVC.  (AVC appears to have regained control over these accounts which are now directed toward the Incredi-Plex. The lawsuit also alleges that when Hawthorne started AVC, she adopted a tournament series with the same names and dates as IVC in order to cause confusion in the volleyball community.

The coaches, who are all identified as independent contractors, are said to have violated their one page IVC's contract which say they shall "not disclose...trade secrets, production processes, customers, pricing or marketing plans."  Emails are attached to the lawsuit which purport to show solicitation of customers by the defendants.

The lawsuit identifies six legal theories:  violation of Indiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act, tortious interference with contract, conversion, computer tampering, breach of duty of loyalty and good faith, and breach of the Lanham Act.  The lawsuit asks for specific performance, that corrective measures be taken and for unspecified damages.

The lawsuit, which has Cause No. 49D-1414-PL-032496, was filed by Attorney John Maley, a partner with Barnes and Thornburg.

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