Two groups of former Cabela’s employees are being sued by the Cabela’s division of Bass Pro Shops for allegedly violating non-compete agreements and misusing confidential information.

Bass Pro Shops finalized a deal to purchase Cabela’s in late 2017 and afterward began making staff changes. The two industry giants competed for years throughout the United States and Canada prior to the purchase. Bass Pro Shops is headquartered in Springfield, Missouri; Cabela’s was founded and located in Sidney, Nebraska.

Separate lawsuits have been filed in Delaware against:

— Matthew and Molly Highby, who are married and founded Highby Outdoors. Matthew Highby was formerly Cabela’s optics and cutlery category manager; Molly Highby was Cabela’s sourcing manager, softgoods. Matthew Highby’s father, Dennis Highby, was president of Cabela’s from 2003-09 and was on its Board of Directors until the sale last year.

— Ryan Wellman, Trent Santero, Mike Riddle and Jeremy Nesbitt, who founded NexGen Outfitters in Sidney. All are previous managers or directors.

NexGen and Highby Outdoors had worked with the City of Sidney for funding help of more than $1 million.

According to the Omaha World-Herald, Matthew and Molly Highby, said in court papers that filing the lawsuit “reneges on (Cabela’s) professed ‘generosity’ to former employees by crushing their future livelihood, as well as the hopes of Sidney, Nebraska.”

Both companies denied misappropriating or misusing any confidential information from Cabela’s. They also claim the non-compete agreements are not enforceable in Nebraska and were voided by later agreements.
Bass Pro Shops countered by saying the agreements were in place and that non-compete agreements were for 18 months after the former employees’ departures. The company, in court papers, also said stock and severance payments were made to those who departed and is asking for them to return those payments and any stock profits.