The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

May 6, 2013

Brothers wrangle over competing companies

SHENANGO VALLEY — A history of bad blood between two brothers involved in the sale of swimming pool chemicals and the servicing of pools has resulted in dueling legal claims.

Richard L. Earnhardt, 42, of Youngstown and his brother, Edward L. “Lee” Earnhardt III, 51, grew up in the family business, Barber’s Chemicals Inc., 950 Main St., Sharpsville, which their parents, Edward L. Jr. and Jeanne L. Earnhardt, bought from Charlie Barber in 1976.

Edward Jr. died in 2003 and Lee Earnhardt bought the company, which also sells to and serves industrial chemical users and water and wastewater plants.

Richard Earnhardt, who had left the company in 2000 “after being physically assaulted by Lee Earnhardt,” rejoined it in 2004, Richard Earnhardt said.

When the brothers feuded over money, Richard Earnhardt left the company in 2005 and started PA Pool Service, a pool servicing and maintenance company. He built the company with his wife, Deborah, and Thomas Siar of Pulaski.

In 2011, Richard Earnhardt was approached by a national chemical seller and offered a job to manage a regional office and directly compete with Barber’s Chemicals in the sale of industrial chemicals, he said.

Richard Earnhardt said he approached his brother about repairing their relationship and joining their companies rather than directly competing.

The brothers agreed on an asset purchase sale of PA Pool Service to Barber’s, which resulted in 45 to 50 pool service contracts transferring to Barber’s, which had only two such contracts.

Lee Earnhardt hired his brother and Siar but reneged on a promise to hire Deborah Earnhardt, and the relationship again soured, Richard Earnhardt said.

Richard Earnhardt claimed he was “constructively discharged” by Lee Earnhardt in January when Lee Earnhardt stopped paying him.

Lee Earnhardt said his brother “quit his job without notice.”

Richard Earnhardt started a new company called PA Pool Service, based at 389 Lyle Drive, Hermitage, but said it is “a different legal entity” from the original PA Pool Service.

Lee Earnhardt said the new PA Pool Service is directly competing with Barber’s in violation of the asset purchase agreement with the original PA Pool Service and Richard Earnhardt’s employment contract, Barber’s said.

Barber’s Chemicals initiated legal action with a suit against Richard Earnhardt, Siar and PA Pool Service, alleging breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets.

The defendants denied the allegations in their answer and filed a counterclaim alleging breach of contract.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 15-year-old legal battle returning to county court

    State Supreme Court has let stand a Superior Court decision sending a landmark medical malpractice case back to Mercer County Common Pleas Court.

    April 16, 2014

  • Southwest mulls how to adopt study points

    Even though some members of the Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department had little respect for a study of the department completed by a consultant, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. pledged to implement as many of the study’s recommendations as he could.

    April 16, 2014

  • Beader plans to resign, just not yet

    Democratic Mercer County Commissioner Brian Beader acknowledges that he intends to resign, but said nothing will happen until after he meets privately with the county’s judges next Thursday.

    April 16, 2014

  • Wildlife fund for park Aiding Buhl Farm animals

    Some of Steven Jubelirer’s fondest memories of his mother, Natalie, was when they would walk together in Buhl Farm park, Hermitage.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • News briefs from April 15, 2014

    Man charged with attack on his wife in Walmart

    Woman arrested for stabbing man with knife

    3 injured in pickup-motorcycle crash

    April 15, 2014

  • Judge orders Marin removed from ballot

    Saying the testimony of Congressional candidate Mel Marin of Sharon wasn’t credible, the Commonwealth Court has ordered Marin’s name removed from the Democratic Party’s ballot for one of area’s congressional seats in the May primary because Marin now has less than the required 1,000 valid signatures.

    April 15, 2014

  • Fire ruled accident, but cause unknown

    The fire in Greenville-Reynolds Industrial Park was most likely started by workers who were gutting the building, according to a deputy fire marshal.

    April 15, 2014

  • Mertz Tower fire Mertz tenant charged with arson

    A tenant who was being evicted from her apartment because of bizarre behavior is accused of setting her sofa ablaze at Wade D. Mertz Towers in Sharpsville.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tickled reflexology and pedicure salon Crafting a new downtown

    We’ll know better five years from now what lasting impact public interest in the arts and boutique shopping had in efforts to revitalize downtown Sharon with small businesses.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Have van, need drivers to serve elderly

    April 14, 2014

  • Jim Raykie column photo Technology aside, constant has been serving community

    Wow ... I was thinking about The Herald’s 150th birthday during the weekend, and realized that I’m getting old – I’ve been here for more than a quarter of that century and a half.

     

     

     

     

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • The Herald, 1941 Herald marks 150th year

    The Herald today, April 14, celebrates 150 years of serving area readers and advertisers.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

  • Attorneys preparing work for murder trial

    Emerging from his chambers after about two hours of meeting with attorneys in Ralph L. Young’s murder case, Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher J. St. John thanked spectators for their patience in waiting for the public portion of the hearing.

    April 13, 2014

  • Funds tapped for child advocacy centers

    Rooms fashioned to give child abuse victims a non-threatening place to tell their stories now have steady funding, at the suggestion of a task force created in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

    April 13, 2014

  • $35M upgrade planned for tube plant

    Wheatland Tube Co.’s Council Avenue plant in Wheatland is going to get a $35 million upgrade, the company announced Saturday morning.

    April 13, 2014