LAUREL COUNTY -- A Wisconsin-based company doing business in Jackson and Clay counties is suing Representative Robert Goforth (R-89th District) in his capacity as a property owner and pharmacist for breaking a lease contract and enticing customers to use his pharmacies in order to damage their business.

The lawsuit by MANPS, LLC and MCKPS, LLC was filed in London's U.S. District Court on Wednesday. The lawsuit states that the two companies lease property owned by Goforth, John Gilliam as trustee, Ashley Goforth, Sarah Burchell and Express Care Pharmacy.

The Wisconsin companies claim that they lease property from Goforth but that Goforth has never quoted them a specific amount to pay for annual property taxes and insurance. The lawsuit states the companies were willing to pay their part of the agreement, but they "have never been presented any such figures," despite even contacting Gilliam.

It further states that Goforth has threatened to evict the tenants due to their failure to pay, although they are "ready, willing and able to pay the same should he so be presented the insurance or property taxes."

Another facet of the lawsuit states that Burchell agreed to work for the MANPS-operated pharmacy in Manchester in May 2017 but that she attempted to persuade other employees to leave and work for Goforth's pharmacy, resulting in her being fired around March 25, 2020. Burchell allegedly left their employment but with an agreement not to compete against their pharmacy. It further states that "several hundred thousands of prescriptions" of that pharmacy and compelled those customers to use Goforth's pharmacy instead.

The cancellation of the lease agreement, the lawsuit states, will cost the Wisconsin companies approximately $452,100 if they are evicted. They also claim that the loss of business was intentionally done by those listed in the lawsuit and that mistruths had been circulated regarding MANPS and MCKPS' financial status as a ploy for customers to reject using their pharmacy.

"Such conduct constitutes a civil conspiracy," the lawsuit states. "As a direct and proximate result of the Defendants' (Goforth, etc.) conduct in forming a conspiracy against this Plaintiff for the purpose of anti-competition and to 'squeeze' these Plaintiffs out of Clay County, Kentucky."

The lawsuit asks for compensatory damages exceeding $75,000, a temporary injunction during the course of the lawsuit, attorney fees and costs, trial by a jury, punitive damages and any other legal relief deemed appropriate by the judge.

A lawsuit represents only a complaint by a plaintiff and does not imply guilt by the defendants involved in the case, nor does it present the defendants' response.

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