Two months after being told they couldn’t work as brokers in Colorado for a year, three Denver real estate professionals are still trying to figure out what they can do for their new employer. Huh.
And in court, the men’s lawyers have said their previous firm is seeking to make legal proceedings “as costly as possible” for them.
Terence Hunt, Shane Ozment and Chris Cowan, who have brokered some of the biggest Denver-area real estate transactions over the years, left Newmark in May for rival CBRE.
Newmark later sued the men in New York, saying they were violating non-compete agreements. The men filed their suit in Denver, saying that the agreement referred to was superseded by a subsequent agreement, and that the original agreement was unenforceable anyway.
Most of the court action since then has been in New York, where in July Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager issued an order banning Hunt, Ozment, and Cowan for a year:
- “Providing any brokerage services in the State of Colorado or any brokerage services that have a relationship with the State of Colorado”
- “Competing Directly or Indirectly” with Newmark in Colorado
- “obtaining an interest in or providing any service to a brokerage firm in Colorado” that competes with Newmark
- dislike newmark
Hunt, Ozment and Cowan have appealed the injunction; In New York, the Supreme Court is not the highest state court. But a decision on that appeal has not been possible for months, court records indicate.
In August, when lawyers for the brokers indicated they had questions about what men can do while complying with the injunction – for example, can they go to industry conventions? – Ostrager said he thought “the decision was clear.”
“The attorney will provide and agree to any additional details that are necessary,” he said in a mid-August filing.
But by the end of August, the two sides wrote to Ostrager again, saying they had done so but still had not come to an agreement.
The men’s lawyers said in an August 31 letter to the judge that they had identified potential roles that do not require brokerage licenses in three CBRE subsidiaries: Trammell Crow Company, CBRE Global Investors and CBRE Capital Advisors.
The lawyers wrote, “The defendant … intends to continue working and earn a living during this time.”
Lawyers for the men wrote that it appears that Newmark “does not intend to engage in a meaningful discussion” about the limits of the injunction.
“For example, the plaintiff inquired about specific industry conferences the defendants would attend, but ultimately took the position that the defendants could not attend any conferences because ‘business’ could be conducted at those meetings,” Lawyers for all three wrote. “The defendants assured the plaintiffs that they would not solicit business at these conventions and that a primary purpose of these conventions is the continuation of education.”
However, Newmark’s lawyers said the discussion was conducted “in good faith”, and responded directly to the convention’s example.
The Newmark attorneys wrote, “After receiving a non-exhaustive list of possible conventions and discussing those conventions with the defense attorney, it is the position of the plaintiffs that it is the court’s order to block the client’s continuation.” Trying to find ways.” “Participating in conferences with market participants and clients where the primary goal is marketing and business development would constitute indirect brokerage activities and would otherwise compete with Newmark in breach of an injunction.”
And Newmark’s lawyers wrote that the role in CBRE subsidiaries would not be appropriate.
About Trammel Crow: “Our understanding is that Trammell Crow Company shares its office in Denver, Colorado with CBRE’s multi-family brokerage team, and it uses the same computer servers and systems. Respondent proposes That they sit next to or down the halls of working brokers in Denver under the thin veil of working for a colleague is exactly the end of what is prohibited under the injunction.
About CBRE Capital Advisors: “The Respondents assert that it would be appropriate for CBRE Capital Advisors to raise capital, but this ignores the fact that the raising of capital is a routine business activity conducted by Newmark and therefore their proposed activity is a part of Newmark’s would violate the injunction by competing directly with it.”
About CBRE Global Investors: “The defendants also proposed that they identify and analyze real estate investment opportunities for CBRE Global Investors. However, this would constitute marketing and business development. For example, the lawyer asserted by stating that defendants identifying properties for purchase will not compete. This is false: by doing so they will remain relevant to customers. Moreover, it is doubly wrong as buyers become sellers.”
Elsewhere in the case, three men have asked Ostrager to remain on further search until a decision on an appeal of the injunction is made, arguing that it “will potentially have a significant impact on the finding.”
Newmark objected to that request. In response, the men’s lawyers said this was “only the latest example of plaintiff’s efforts to make the case as costly as possible for the defendant.”
Meanwhile, Newmark is arguing that halting the search will take the case longer.
“There is no basis to find that extending the duration of this trial would in any way result in cost savings for the defendants,” a lawyer for the firm wrote in a September 8 filing.
A hearing on the motion to halt the search is currently scheduled for 30 September.