Sporting Goods Stores Battle in Lawsuit
A rival sporting goods store claims the CEO of Modell's Sporting Goods pretended to be an executive from a rival sporting goods chain in an effort to get confidential information.
The claim is at the heart of a lawsuit filed Feb. 20 in Mercer County Court. It was first reported Friday by The Record newspaper.
Dick's Sporting Goods claims that Mitchell Modell showed up at a Princeton store in February saying he was a senior vice president collecting information about the store.
Dick's alleges Modell said he was to meet the Dick's CEO there and persuaded employees to show him the backroom of the store and answer questions about the business. Specifically, the suit said Modell was gathering information about online sales, including a "ship from store" program that gets products to customers' doors quickly.
Dick's accuses its rival of civil conspiracy and trespass and is seeking attorneys' fees and a judge's order to prevent Modell and his workers from entering nonpublic areas of Dick's stores or posing as employees.
Modell's spokesman Jason Karlowski says he can't comment immediately but would be able to answer questions later Friday.
Mitchell Modell does have experience in going undercover. In 2012, he pretended to be a low-level employee on the TV show "Undercover Boss."
His New York-based chain has more than 150 stores, mostly in the Northeast. Dick's, based in Pittsburgh, is a publicly traded company with more than 550 stores nationwide.
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