Envirocare Sues Its Former President

Envirocare Sues Its Former President

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Envirocare is suing its former president, claiming Charles Judd is trying to undercut its business.

The lawsuit, filed in 3rd District Court on Monday, alleges Judd violated an employment agreement with Envirocare and tried to damage the company through unfair competition while trying to open his own waste business, Cedar Mountain Environmental.

The lawsuit alleges he and the company are motivated primarily by a desire to harm Envirocare, and says Judd used false statements to hurt the relationship between Envirocare and Tooele County.

The Tooele County Planning and Zoning Commission in September denied Judd's company a permit to start a competing facility. Judd has appealed the decision to the Tooele County Commission.

"Defendants' ill will toward Envirocare predominated over any legitimate, economic motive," the lawsuit says.

Judd calls the accusations "shocking" but not surprising.

"It's all in the process of how they do business," Judd said. Envirocare "intimidates with large lawsuits. In reality, it's false and shocking. They knew we were preparing a lawsuit against them."

He wouldn't elaborate on the details of his alleged lawsuit.

Judd, a civil engineer, was with Envirocare owner Khosrow Semnani when he formed the company in 1988. Judd became president after Semnani was forced to resign his post in 1997 amid a questionable relationship with a former state regulator. Judd was forced out from the job in January 2002.

Envirocare's lawsuit comes almost 10 months after Judd and his former employer settled a claim he filed against Envirocare and Semnani. He alleged he was wrongfully terminated and Semnani failed to meet contractual obligations.

The settlement agreement stipulated that Judd remained bound by confidentiality provisions that basically forbid him from disclosing any trade secrets.

But Judd tried to obtain pricing information from Envirocare in a guise to send waste to them, the lawsuit says. Envirocare attorneys also say Judd tried to enter into a business deal with Envirocare to "divide up the (waste) market."

When Envirocare refused, the lawsuit claims, Judd threatened to persuade a legislative task force to hike Envirocare's taxes unless Envirocare met his demands on an unrelated real estate transaction.

"Their accusation is ridiculous," Judd said. "They never gave me pricing information. Any information I used is in the public domain."

The lawsuit seeks a court injunction preventing Judd and Cedar Mountain from "wrongfully interfering with Envirocare's contractual and/or economic relationships."

It also seeks an unspecified amount of punitive damages, restitution of funds paid to Judd under a settlement agreement after he left the firm, attorneys fees and other costs.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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