Two former U.S. Marines were ordered by a judge to pay $246,000 for stealing the idea for a boot-camp style fitness gym from Pure Power Boot Camp.
Pure Power, started by former Wall Street trader Lauren Brenner, won a trial claiming former employees Ruben Belliard and Alexander Fell violated their duties as employees of the gym by taking Pure Power’s business plan, start-up manual and operations manual as part of a plan to open a competing gym 15 blocks away in Manhattan.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz, who heard evidence without a jury earlier this year, ruled today against the two former Marines, who founded Warrior Fitness Boot Camp.
“Belliard’s breach of loyalty was particularly egregious, in the calculated nature of his disloyalty, and the lengths to which he went to conceal his disloyal conduct,” Katz wrote in his opinion.
Katz ruled that Belliard must forfeit the $55,197 he was paid by Pure Power during the time he was planning to open Warrior Fitness, and awarded $110,393 in punitive damages. Katz said Fell must forfeit $40,177 in pay and assessed $40,177 in punitive damages.
“Warrior Fitness will stay in business, and that’s what’s important,” Carolyn Richmond, a lawyer for the gym, said in a phone interview.
Katz dismissed most of Pure Power’s claims and declined to uphold a 10-year non-compete clause against the ex-Marines, Richmond said. Pure Power won only a fraction of the damages it claimed in the suit, she said.
The case is Pure Power Boot Camp Inc. v. Warrior Fitness Boot Camp LLC, 08-cv-04810, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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