Mortgage Now, Inc. Recovers Profits Lost After Employee Raid By Competitor
U.S. Federal Judge finds wrongful solicitation and civil conspiracy
Pensacola Fla — On September 20, 2012, Chief U.S. District Court Judge M. Casey Rogers awarded Mortgage Now, Inc. $339,468.97 against Guaranteed Home Mortgage Corporation of White Plains, NY and former Mortgage Now, Inc. manager, Bryan Stone of Miramar, FL for wrongfully soliciting and inducing approximately ten Destin, FL employees to quit their employment with Mortgage Now, Inc., and to take home loans on which they were working, to the soon-to-be opened Guaranteed Home Mortgage branch located within a quarter of a mile.
Mortgage Now, Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer, James Marchese, described the decision as a clear victory against companies who use illegal and overly aggressive methods to solicit their competitor’s employees. “The harm done to Mortgage Now, Inc. as a result of Guaranteed Home Mortgage’s conduct exceeded the lost profits awarded by the Court, but the decision by the court in this case should be viewed as proof that employers really do have recourse against unscrupulous companies who use “inside help” to steal a company’s employees.”
Mortgage Now, Inc.’s lawsuit claimed that in February 2009, its then-branch manager, Stone, spread false rumors about Mortgage Now, Inc.’s financial situation and the “dishonesty” of its owner, James Marchese, all as part of a campaign to persuade his subordinates to leave Mortgage Now, Inc. and work with him at Guaranteed Home Mortgage Corporation as loan officers and loan closers.
At the trial, conducted in February 2012, Mortgage Now, Inc. presented evidence that it lost approximately 100,000 in profits due to disruption in the workplace caused by Stone inducing his subordinates to terminate their employment at Mortgage Now, Inc. The Court found that Guaranteed Home Mortgage Corporation’s Director of Business Development, Lou Tesoriero of White Plains, New York, played a key role in assisting Stone to solicit these employees.
The Court also found that Guaranteed Home Mortgage Corporation’s coordinated actions with Stone constituted intentional interference and a civil conspiracy. The court found that Guaranteed Home Mortgage Corporation hired the Mortgage Now, Inc. employees, processed their loans and gave them password-protected access to the Guaranteed processing system, all while they were still employed and paid as loan officers at Mortgage Now, Inc.
Because of their coordinated actions, the Court held that Stone and Guaranteed Home Mortgage Corporation were both jointly liable for the monetary judgment. The Court awarded $280,261.44 in lost profits and $59,207.53 in interest from February 2009, for a total of $339,468.97. Mortgage Now, Inc. was also awarded its costs of litigation and has applied for compensation for its attorneys’ fees.
Mortgage Now, Inc. was represented by Gary Kessler of Irvin & Kessler, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia and Clint Wallace of Lakeland, Florida. Guaranteed Home Mortgage Corporation was represented by Russell Van Sickle of Beggs and Lane of Pensacola, Florida and Bryan Stone was represented by Stanley Powell of Powell & Swanick, Niceville, Florida. The case name is Mortgage Now, Inc. v. Bryan Stone, Philip Heppding and Guaranteed Home Mortgage Corporation, Case Number: 3:09-CV-00080 (Northern District of Florida, September 20, 2012) and can be found online at Westlaw at 2012 WL 4478950.
If you have further questions, please contact James Marchese at 732-460-9388 or Gary R. Kessler at 404-909-8100.