Kasowitz Secures Millions for Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Jury Verdict Win
Kasowitz won a $2.25 million jury verdict, along with $2.5 million in punitive damages, on behalf of Douglas Elliman Real Estate against a competing real estate firm and former Elliman branch manager for breach of fiduciary duty and other tortious conduct.
Established, key producers in an office or branch can be poached by competitors of well-funded start-ups with dire business consequences. This poaching frequently relies on illegal tactics and the challenge rests on proving the competitor accountable for wrongful conduct in recruiting, as happened to Kasowitz client Douglas Elliman Realty, one of the largest real estate brokerages in the United States.
Kasowitz brought suit against a competing real estate firm and former Douglas Elliman branch manager, asserting that their scheme to unlawfully move a dozen sales agents, including Elliman’s four top producers, to the competitor’s newly opened branch office, was illegal.
Setting an important precedent for brokerages and following a four-week jury trial in New York Supreme Court, a jury found the defendants liable for breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, and tortious interference with business relations, awarding $2.25 million in damages and $2.5 million in punitive damages.