Fayetteville-based contractor Steelworx Industrial Group has filed a civil suit claiming an executive worked there under the guise of leading its electrical department but took confidential information and customers for Fayetteville-based contractor CR Crawford Construction.
The suit was filed on Sept. 15 in Washington County Circuit Court against Cody Crawford, CR Crawford, Kenny Williams and Prime Electric Group.
According to court documents, Williams started Aug. 11 as vice president of Steelworx’s electrical division. About two weeks later, Williams resigned and told President Colby Couch he’d also been working with CR Crawford, had moved $4 million in orders from Steelworx to CR Crawford, and he and Crawford intended to start electrical contracting company Prime Electric.
“Steelwork quickly learned that Williams’ employment was mostly a sham,” court documents show. “It appeared that Williams began conspiring with Cody Crawford and the defendant entities at or shortly after he accepted the position of vice president of Steelworx’s electrical department.”
The documents also show an electrical purchase order from Harrison Energy was canceled and moved to the respondent entities and that they used Steelworx’s confidential information to bid against Steelworx on other jobs.
Marshall Ney, attorney at Friday, Eldredge & Clark in Rogers, represents Williams and Prime Electric.
“Steelworx’s allegations are categorically denied,” Ney said. “As will be demonstrated by the imminent counterclaim that soon will be filed, Mr. Williams walked away from his valuable ownership position within a competing company to accept employment with Steelworx that was not at all as represented by Steelworx. As soon as this became clear, and after Steelworx rejected Mr. Williams’ pleas to take corrective action, Mr. Williams sought other employment.”
Stuart Miller, attorney at Mitchell Williams in Rogers, represents CR Crawford.
“The allegations in the complaint against CR Crawford Construction are wholly without merit and not based on the true facts,” Miller said. “CR Crawford intends to vigorously defend the allegations against it in court.”
Little Rock-based Rose Law Firm represents Steelworx and seeks an injunction against the respondents. However, Williams looks to prevent Rose Law Firm from representing Steelworx. According to court documents filed Sept. 27, the firm also represents Williams with his separation from a previous employer and has created a conflict of interest.
In a letter filed Sept. 29, Farmington attorney John Everett, who represents Crawford, said the motion to disqualify Rose Law Firm from representing the complainant should be heard before the injunction. A hearing is set for Nov. 1, court documents show.
According to court documents filed Oct. 2, Williams wouldn’t have joined Steelworx had he known that businesses he’d developed relationships with would not work with him as a Steelworx employee. Also, Crawford denied he has any of Steelworx’s confidential information and that he ever sought such information from anyone in the case.
The case was assigned to Circuit Judge Doug Martin.