A supreme court judge has upheld a ruling which cost William Raveis nearly $4 million damages in an agent poaching case.
Raveis and former Douglas Elliman branch manager Lisa Theiss had appealed a June 2017 court decision that found them in breach of fiduciary duty and of causing tortious interference with a contract. Elliman won $2.5 million in punitive and $2.25 from the jury. Raveis and Theiss moved to set aside or decrease the verdicts in an appeal.
However, last week, Judge Alan Scheinkman of the New York Supreme Court upheld the $2.5 million punitive damages award. HE allotted $1.3 million in compensatory damages, but granted Elliman’s motion to set aside the jury’s granting of a $40,000 bonus for Theiss.
Elliman initially brought suit in 2015 against Raveis and Theiss, who until March 2015 had been managing Elliman’s Armonk, NY branch office.
The lawsuit asserted that Raveis and Theiss schemed, while Theiss was still an Elliman branch manager, to unlawfully move a dozen sales agents, including Elliman’s four top producers in Armonk, to Raveis’ newly-opened branch office across the street.
“We are extremely satisfied that the court upheld the vast majority of the jury verdict against Raveis and Theiss,” said Mark W. Lerner, head of Kasowitz’s Employment Practices and Litigation Group who tried the case on Elliman’s behalf.