This week’s RV Show in Pasadena has an unusual star: For the first time, an RV dealer and manufacturer have teamed up in an effort to support a worthy charity.
According to RV News Service, the manufacturer, Eclipse Recreational Vehicles Inc., and the dealer, McMahon’s RV, are raffling off a 2012 Milan travel trailer and all proceeds will go to support the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHCO).
The campaign slogan, “Your $1 Can Win a Trailer. Help a Child,” is designed to remind those in the raffle that their money will help children at CHCO. The hospital was established over 45 years ago with the mission of providing the highest quality medical care to children.
Affiliated with the University of California, Irvine, the regional pediatric healthcare network includes a state-of-the-art 238-bed main hospital facility in the City of Orange, a hospital-within-a-hospital in Mission Viejo. CHOC also offers many primary and specialty care clinics, over 100 additional programs and services, a pediatric residency program, and four centers of excellence.
The trailer is an Eclipse 22-foot Milan22CKBG built on an ultra light chassis and features composite building techniques. Said to be a luxury model, the trailer scales in at a featherweight 3,900 pounds for easy towing.
Tickets are being sold at the show in the Pasadena Rose Bowl, and are also available at all California McMahon’s dealerships. They are in Irvine, Coulton and Palm Desert.
A Riverside, Calif., entrepreneur has won a $17.5 million judgment from a former employer who broke into his personal computer because his boss suspected he was pilfering company secrets, court documents show.
Dallen Trealoff, who with his wife, Joanne, founded Eclipse Recreational Vehicles Inc. six years ago, was working as a sales manager for national RV manufacturer Forest River Inc. in 2002. According to court records, the company allegedly removed the hard drive from the laptop Trealoff owned, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
Forest River, in turn, countersued Trealoff, alleging he was storing confidential information about Forest River with an eye toward starting his own company.
A San Bernardino County jury last week, after a seven-week trial, ruled in Trealoff’s favor on almost all counts, and a Superior Court judge awarded Trealoff just over $17.5 million from Forest River and its president and CEO, Peter Liegl. The judgment includes $15 million in punitive damages.
Trealoff was hired in 1995 as sales manager for Elkhart, Ind.-based Forest River, which was then a start-up company. Working out of a factory in Rialto, he was in charge of developing a sales network in 11 Western states.
Forest River was bought out by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in 2005.
Trealoff said Forest River personnel did not deny helping themselves to his laptop, which included sensitive personal financial data.
According to court records, Trealoff used his spare time to develop a software program that kept track of Forest River’s sales and production information, and that was what the company was after.
Trealoff said in an interview it was the only time in his long career in the RV industry he’s been in a lawsuit, and his tenure with Forest River is the only time he’s ever been fired from a job.
“Big business has a philosophy of putting an employee in court and making him spend the money on legal fees,” Trealoff said. “But no boss should get to abuse an employee.”
Liegl could not be reached to comment. One of his attorneys, Erin Donovan, said post-trial motions are being prepared and an appeal was likely. Donovan would not elaborate.
Forest River’s countersuit entered into a gray area, especially in California, where attorneys who practice employment law agree that companies usually have a tough time proving an ex-worker used privileged information.
Jeff Tidus, Trealoff’s attorney, said Trealoff never signed a noncompete agreement with Forest River, and he added no employer can tell a worker he can’t use the information gleaned from years of experience.