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Harowski and Bane Obtain Ruling Client Not Liable in Tortious Interference Suit

August 24, 2020

Mike Harowski (Partner-New Orleans) and Ashley Bane (Associate-New Orleans) obtained a defense judgment for a commercial ship management client in a tortious interference suit in federal court in Mobile, Alabama. The plaintiff had alleged the firm’s client, his previous employer, intentionally and improperly interfered with his employment contract with his subsequent employer, resulting in termination of employment, and sought $715,000 in lost wages, $1.4 million for emotional distress and punitive damages of 1.5 to 2 times compensatory damages. The ship management company had offered the plaintiff positions on other vessels after a ship-to-ship oil transfer collision involving a ship under his command, but the plaintiff instead took a job with another company. The client later learned that plaintiff was scheduled to oversee a ship-to-ship transfer operation between his new vessel and the same vessel involved in the earlier collision. The client proposed an arrangement by which plaintiff could retain his position with his new employer while not overseeing that one operation. However, the new employer decided to terminate the plaintiff. Following a two-day bench trial, the judge ruled that the client’s interference was justified and not improper, and that the client was not liable to plaintiff for any damages.

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