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Affirmance of Plaintiff's Verdict in Employee Poaching Case

By FindLaw Staff on May 19, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Meaux Surface Protection, Inc. v. Fogleman, No. 09-20234, involved an action for breach of fiduciary duty claiming that defendant surreptitiously and unlawfully poached employees and clients while working for plaintiff.  The court of appeals affirmed judgment for plaintiff in part, on the grounds that 1) it was perfectly apparent throughout discovery and pretrial litigation that plaintiff would seek lost profits, and thus the district court's amendment of its pretrial order to permit plaintiff to do so was not erroneous; 2) defense counsel had the relevant documents prior to plaintiff's lost profits witness's deposition and could have questioned him about his familiarity, or lack thereof, with plaintiff's operations and profitability; 3) the jury was well within its province to find that defendants' recruitment of plaintiff's employees directly caused plaintiff to suffer a loss in business; and 4) because the company and industry were not nascent and untested, copious evidence of lost profits was unnecessary.  However, the court remanded in part because the district court needed to consider the appropriateness of prejudgment interest and to award post-judgment interest.

As the court wrote:  "In this diversity jurisdiction case, we review a jury verdict and judgment in favor of Plaintiff Meaux Surface Protection, Inc. ("Meaux") on a claim for breach of fiduciary duty. Defendants Mike Fogleman, Charlie Kotrla, and CleanBlast, LLC (collectively "defendants") contend that the district court abused its discretion in allowing an eleventh-hour amendment of the pretrial order, and erred in failing to grant defendants' motions for judgment as a matter of law. Meaux cross-appeals the denial of prejudgment and post-judgment interest. After careful review, we find no reason why we should upset the jury verdict and judgment. However, we order that that the case be remanded to its port of call for the district court to consider the appropriateness of prejudgment interest and to award post-judgment interest."

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