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WARREN Ajax files motion against company



Published: Sat, August 3, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A hearing has been set for 10 a.m. Monday.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Ajax Magnethermic Corp. and Ajax Magnethermic Canada want a judge to prohibit a New Jersey company and its subsidiaries from soliciting Ajax customers and employees.

Attorneys representing Ajax filed a motion Friday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court seeking a temporary restraining order against Inductotherm Industries Inc. of Rancocas, N.J., and its subsidiaries EMSCO Inc. of Massillon and Alpha 1 Induction Service Center Inc. of Columbus.

The attorneys met with Judge Peter Kontos and Atty. David Gunning II, who represents Inductotherm. Judge Kontos, however, said more information was needed before a temporary restraining order could be issued.

Judge Kontos said the case is assigned to Judge Andrew Logan. Because Judge Logan was on vacation Friday, Judge Kontos was asked to meet with the attorneys, court officials said.

A hearing has been set for 10 a.m. Monday in Judge Logan's courtroom. Attorneys for both sides declined to comment.

Confidential agreement

The motion states that in October, Inductotherm contacted Ajax's officials about buying the companies' assets. At that time, Ajax entered into a confidential agreement with Inductotherm so that Inductotherm could evaluate the company, the motion states.

The motion further states that in May, Inductotherm officials assured Ajax that they were interested in buying Ajax's assets and entered into an exclusive arrangement that gave Inductotherm the exclusive rights to begin buying Ajax. A tentative offer was made at that time, the motion states.

"On information and belief, Inductotherm and others, including but not limited to EMSCO and Alpha 1, participated in a plan that would further Inductotherm's scheme to drive Ajax out of business and acquire its confidential information, property and customers," the motion states.

In June, Inductotherm rescinded the original tentative offer and reduced the offer by about 50 percent, the motion states.

As a result of Inductotherm's inadequate offer, Ajax's management was forced to close Ajax's doors June 28, and the plant was temporarily shut down, the motion states. Ajax makes industrial equipment and had employed 145.

Reopened

About three weeks later, the plant reopened after four former employees approached Park Ohio, a Cleveland manufacturing company, and were able to work out an agreement to reopen the company. About 50 employees were brought back to work, officials said.

Terms of that agreement have not been released.

The motion also states that Inductotherm carried out "an even more overt plan" at the Canadian facility.

The motion also asks the judge to order Inductotherm Industries to return all confidential business and employee information and other confidential information.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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