Ford is suing former marketing executive Martin Collins as the result of a job he took with a Toyota distributor. The Detroit Free Press reports that Collins took a position as president of Gulf States Toyota; an apparent violation of his employment contract with Ford. Collins had been the general sales manager of the Ford and Lincoln brands since May.
Ford is seeking $25,000 in damages for the alleged employment contract breach and the automaker is also looking to ban Collins from taking the job. Ford said in the suit that the company is concerned that Collins could supply "confidential or proprietary information and/or trade secrets that is valuable and gives a competitive advantage to the company."

Collins' attorney, William John Bux, counters that the former Ford employee is actually employed by the Friedkin Group – not Gulf States Toyota. Bux adds that Collins will not interact with Gulf States Toyota until after the non-compete clause ends.


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  • 18 Comments
      Carzzz
      • 3 Years Ago
      i don't understand. the oem's have always been very incestuous when it comes exec swapping. why is this different?
      Noz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ford needs to stfu and stop whining ...
      billfrombuckhead
      • 3 Years Ago
      A far bigger plantation collar is America's lack of national healthcare policy. Why does Toyota still have these distributorships? Check out Southeast Toyota's sordid history, one of the most hated entities in the car business.
        Klinkster
        • 3 Years Ago
        @billfrombuckhead
        S.E.T. also happens to be one of the most ingenious distributorship entities in the car business. And if you want national healthcare? Speak to Obama. He's committed it to you - and if he can't deliver, then that says something about the guy's effectiveness in politics...
          billfrombuckhead
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Klinkster
          What's ingenious about Southeast TuRDyota? Tax evasion? From Wikipedia: "Moran pled guilty to tax evasion in 1984. He insisted that he had been given bad advice and it was not intentional. He was fined $35,000, put on probation, and created a training facility for disadvantaged youth (see Philanthropy, below). A number of Toyota dealers filed suit against JMFE alleging that they were coerced into doing business with other JMFE companies in order to receive the most desirable Toyota models. Eventually, all the lawsuits were dropped after a settlement was reached. In the late 1980s, SET was accused of denying dealership franchises to blacks who met the distributor's requirements. In 1992, a congressional hearing was held to investigate possible discrimination. In response, JMFE began the yearly African-American Achievers Awards.[13]" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Moran_%28automotive%29 Just the tip of the garbage barge.
      Walt
      • 3 Years Ago
      About time Detroit cracks down on this stuff. Tell me, where does Toyota have its U.S. research center? In the south, where they have their plants? Oh No. In California where they have a dominant market share and can tap into the latest trends? Oh No. Toyota has its research center in Detroit, where it can hire former Detroit auto executives and steal trade secrets. In short, Japanese automakers would cease to exist without stealing technology.
      Klinkster
      • 3 Years Ago
      GROW UP FORD!! No one likes a whiney-baby who's bent on bullying some guy around. Did you see Toyota sue Jim Press or Chrysler when he left??? NO! And I'm certain Jim had significantly more "proprietary" knowledge than this guy. Wow...what's next? Ford sues its customers for blogging negatively about their crap?
      Jaylgo
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's funny, because Ford used Toyota's hybrid technology before and according to news are planning to build a hybrid truck together. Is just crazy that Ford are saying that their fromer employee will give Toyota confidential information or trade secrets. WTF, Ford NOW are making good reliable vehicles. Who ever buys ford buys ford anyways, all of our technology comes from asia, who cares if an ex employee now works for toyota, I would just let him.
        Walt
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jaylgo
        Ford didn't use anybody's technology. They developed their own hybrid system. When it came to light that their system was similar to Toyota's, both companies agreed to cross license the technology to avoid protracted legal disputes. Subsequently, we now know that Toyota stole their hybrid technology and is forced to pay a $25 to the inventor for every hybrid they sell. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Toyota has never invented a thing. If it weren't for stealing western technology, Toyota would be out of business.
      Diz
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Bux adds that Collins will not interact with Gulf States Toyota until after the non-compete clause ends." Uh huh, sure. The implied connection is too easy to make. The key question is - To what extent is Toyota supporting his legal fees while this suit is going on.
      SloopJohnB
      • 3 Years Ago
      Oh baloney...$25K is a drop in the bucket if that is all this man's services are valued at for specific damages. The no compete clause is just a plantation collar to keep the rest of Ford's execs in line (as if their incredible salaries isn't...LOL!). This will get settled and the no compete clause will not be injured...Ford will just agree to the Chinese wall.
      dukeisduke
      • 3 Years Ago
      Gulf States Toyota was started by Thomas H. Friedkin, a former Hollywood stunt pilot; he also played Miner Tom in the Clint Eastwood film Pale Rider: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_H._Friedkin His son Dan is chairman and CEO of The Friedkin Group. GST and Friedkin Group may technically be separate companies, but I don't see an arm's length relationship. OTOH, why does Ford care about Collins joining Friedkin? It's not like Toyota or GST are desperate for marketing help. And why are they only asking for $25,000 in damages?
        SloopJohnB
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dukeisduke
        Well said. I also agree with TMWS...the idea is to reinforce the no compete clauses extant with the rest of Ford's execs.
        Klinkster
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dukeisduke
        Well so much for the US Constitution then. Don't you guys have mobility rights and the right to work? I don't see how any employment "contract" is enforcable against a single person. Against a corporation yes...but not an individual. Perhaps Ford should simply hire contractors who are incorporated...then they can sue them all day long.
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