Judge orders ex-Cos Bar worker to stop using client info

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

A judge has ordered a former employee of Cos Bar to stop using the Aspen boutique’s client lists to solicit business.

Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols’ order, which is effective until April 16, comes after Cos Bar filed suit against Elizabeth McGuire-Chappell last week.

McGuire-Chappell, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday, previously told The Aspen Times she had not done anything wrong and her former employee was engaged in a campaign of harassment against her.

Cos Bar claims that McGuire-Chappell, who was terminated from her job of 14 years in February, took the retailer’s list of clients and used it to pick up business for her new position at Ultimate Salon. The suit says McGuire-Chappell sent out email blasts to Cos Bar customers. In doing so, she violated terms of Cos Bar’s employee handbook, which she signed, that prohibited her from using its client lists and customer contacts, the suit says.

“Money cannot pay for loss of customers,” Nichols wrote in her order. “This constitutes irreparable harm.”

Nichols also wrote that Cos Bar’s law firm had twice asked McGuire-Chappell to stop using the customer list for her own business gain.

“The temporary protection order is being granted without notice to (McGuire-Chappell) because (McGuire-Chappell) has been notified to stop using plaintiff’s trade secrets and … has not agreed to stop,” Nichols wrote.

The judge also ordered McGuire-Chappell to not “copy, download, upload, save, send, transmit, disseminate” any of Cos Bar’s proprietary information.

Chris Bryan, Cos Bar’s attorney in the action, also has filed a motion for an injunction to make the order permanent.

He said McGuire-Chappell’s actions constitute theft. “I think it’s important value in this community that we don’t condone theft,” he said Wednesday. “And at no time has Cos Bar said we don’t want competition or we don’t want people going out starting your own business. But you have to do it the right way. You have to advertise, get your own products, do you own services. You don’t steal from your rival and stand on the shoulder of these giants to take your own short-cut to success. That’s not right.”

Cos Bar, located on Galena Street, was founded by Aspen resident Lily Garfield in 1976. The boutique, which offers perfumes, cosmetics and spa-like services, has grown into a chain, with some of its products available at Target stores.