American Student List Amends Suit Against Former Employee

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American Student List Co. amended its lawsuit last week against Jan Stumacher, a former employee it has accused of illegally marketing names obtained from ASL's database. The amended suit drops two of the claims against Stumacher and his companies, Rhina International Corp. and Student Marketing Group Inc., both of Lynbrook, NY.


Stumacher, who ASL said was terminated as executive vice president in 1997 after 25 years with the company, is seeking to compete with ASL by marketing lists of high school students at lower prices than those offered by ASL. His employment contract forbade him from competing with ASL until February of this year, which is when he began marketing a competitive database.


Shortly after Stumacher began marketing his lists, ASL said it discovered that some of the names in his database were decoys planted by ASL in its own lists to detect illegal copying, according to Martin Lerner, president of ASL.


In addition, there are identical typographical errors in somenames that are common to both databases, according to ASL's attorney, Mark Mulholland of Ruskin, Moscou, Evans & Faltischek, Mineola, NY.


Stumacher de-clined to comment directly on the accusations and said he obtained his names through proprietary means. His attorney, Robert Hearth of Sidley & Austin, New York, called all the accusations "frivolous."


"They will stop at no lengths to stop me from entering the marketplace and protecting their profits," Stumacher said.


Mulholland said ASL amended its lawsuit and dropped two of the allegations after they were contested by Stumacher to expedite the process. ASL continues to allege that Stumacher's companies engaged in false advertising, unfair competition and deceptive business practices.


Lerner, meanwhile, also accused Stumacher of marketing lists using list cards that are highly similar to those used by ASL. Stumacher said the format was similar because of his 25 years of experience at ASL.


The suit was filed in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Uniondale. Stumacher said he planned to file counterclaims against ASL. Separately, Stumacher and ASL are continuing their arbitration concerning Stumacher's allegations that his termination violated his employment contract with ASL.
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