A Franklin man is suing a Florida woman who used to work for him, saying she interfered with his business relations, breached a contract and infringed on his trademarks.
On Oct. 5, GuestBooker.com owner George Uribe filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Nashville, accusing Cheryl Davis of stealing proprietary company information critical to the ongoing success of his company, which helps its customers land television and radio interviews. Uribe is being represented by Nashville attorneys Lyndsay Smith Hyde and Andrea T. McKellar of the McKellar Hyde PLC firm. Hyde was contacted and offered no comment about the case until she had a chance to talk to her client, she said.
A brief summary of the facts:
• Uribe, pictured here, created a proprietary guest booking software system, dubbed Guest Pitch Method, critical to the business functioning of GuestBooker. Clients of Uribe use this software to link to the company and, after reviewing extensive biographical information about potential on-air guests, can select with whom they want to work. At that point, the booking of that person can begin immediately.
Uribe’s creation of this software apparently rocked the guest booking industry and streamlined a process heretofore considered inefficient at best. Historically, bookers would manually — by phone or otherwise — seek talent out and try to book appearances the old fashion way. The Guest Pitch Method changed all of that and uses an email framework to book guests. The software has been the primary driver of business to GuestBooker since the company’s inception in 2006.
• Davis was hired in August of 2008 as a booking agent. Upon her hiring, she signed an employment agreement that contained both noncompete and confidentiality agreements. Davis remained employed with GuestBooker until her termination in January of this year. The complaint does not make clear why Davis was fired.
• Davis knew how to use the Guest Pitch Method and how to market it to other bookers. She had contacts in the industry, many of them introduced to her by Uribe. After her termination, she moved to Ft. Lauderdale and started her own booking company, Spotlight Media Booking, that Uribe alleges immediately began competing against GuestBooker in violation of her two-year noncompete.
• Uribe alleges that Davis’ actions have resulted in substantial losses of income to his company and have disrupted the media industry by causing general confusion. Bookers have thought that Davis was still employed by GuestBooker prior to engaging Davis, the complaint states, resulting in further loss of business, loss of money and loss of industry standing. The complaint also states that within one week of this lawsuit's filing, Davis used the Guest Pitch Method to pitch a client to a national TV network.
Uribe wants the court to force Davis to stop using the Guest Pitch Method and all things related thereto associated with GuestBooker in the running of her business. Uribe also wants damages — compensatory, actual and punitive — along with attorney’s fees and any other relief the court may offer.