MIAMI – A Fort Lauderdale car dealer is suing a former general manager, claiming he broke an employment agreement by leaving the company to work for a competitor.

AutoNation Inc. filed a lawsuit Jan. 4 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Martin Peters, alleging breach of contract. The case is filed in Florida, rather than Arizona, because Peters’ employment agreements designate Broward County as the location for dispute mediation. In addition, a significant portion of Peters’ training occurred in Florida.

According to the complaint, after Peters left his position as general manager for AutoNation’s Scottsdale, Arizona, office, he signed a confidentiality and non-compete agreement on March 1, 2014. However, the suit claims Peters started working for a rival firm, Peoria Ford, in Peoria, Arizona, where AutoNation has 12 dealership locations. The claim states that Peters also shared confidential information with his new employer.

AutoNation seeks damages in excess of $300,000 and enforcement of the agreement’s non-compete clause. It is represented by attorneys Jon K. Stage and Eric K. Gabrielle of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson P.A. in Fort Lauderdale.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida Case number 0:16-cv-60010

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