Savannah, Georgia, known for its wonderful Southern charm and its equally wonderful liberal open container laws, may also be the site of the Great Segway Wars of 2015. While many of us (hand raised) hoped that the monstrous vehicles would be banned in a great city like Savannah, it turns out that there are several Segway tour companies doing business in town.
Well, two such Segway tour companies are locked in battle. This sounds like the making of an epic scene: two fronts of Segways, lances raised, charging at each other on their two-wheeled contraptions. Instead (unfortunately), the two sides will face off as litigants sparring over a proposed sale and an allegedly ignored non-disclosure agreement.
Bad Faith Negotiations?
Green Transports was operating as a successful Segway tour company in Savannah, and its proprietors, Lynn and Harry Green, say they've "spent years perfecting the organizing and giving of tours in the Savannah area on two-wheeled electric vehicles." Last summer, they decided to sell the business, and met with Lisa Pritchard, an interested buyer.
According to the Greens, Pritchard signed a non-disclosure agreement regarding the negotiations, allowing her access to Green Transports' "trade secrets, including sensitive financial and business operation data, while simultaneously protecting such information and trade secrets from disclosure and use by Defendant Pritchard."
But that's not exactly how it all went down. Instead, the Greens allege Pritchard opened her own Segway tour company "utilizing the financial, proprietary, and other trade secret information that she obtained from Green Transports," and even poached one of Green Transports' best employees.
The Greens responded with a lawsuit (and not a jousting challenge, smh), breach of contract and violations of the Georgia's Trade Secrets Act.
Putting the ND in NDA
Non-disclosure agreements are designed to prevent exactly what allegedly happened in this case. NDAs allow companies and their representatives to explore business opportunities without fear that one party will steal the other party's ideas, products, or employees.
Since we don't know the exact language of the NDA involved in this case, and creating an enforceable non-compete agreement can be tricky, we'll just have to wait to see how the courts sort this one out. Instead of watching people astride trundling doom machines in pitched battle in one of Savannah's historic squares, as god intended.