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Appellate Court Backs up Former Employees in Non-Compete Claim

On July 15, 2015, The Fourteenth Court of Appeals, sitting in Houston, Texas today made a significant ruling on behalf of two former employees of American Surgical Assistants, LLC (“ASA” — now known as American Surgical Professionals) and their successor employer Prestige Surgical Assistants, LLC

The former employees were sued because ASA contended that the former employees violated a non-competition agreement and that by accepting employment with Prestige, they were liable for soliciting each other and other employees to leave ASA and join Prestige. The claims for breach of the non-competition agreement were dismissed by ASA the day of trial and the case was tried on the solicitation claim. The ruling in In Re Mark Athans, Omar Martinez and Prestige Surgical Assistants, LLC ., No. 14-15-00143- CV appears to make it impossible to further challenge the  jury verdict that was issued in March 2014 ruling that Athans and Martinez did not solicit each other or former employees. ASA was dissatisfied with the jury’s decision and instead of appealing, it asked the trial judge for a new trial, which was granted by the trial court. ASA appeared to have wanted the new trial, in part, to enable it to bring a claim against a parent company of Prestige. In the ruling issued by the court of appeals, the granting of the new trial was held to be an abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court and the court of appeals ordered that the jury verdict in the case be reinstated and a final judgment entered on behalf of Athans, Martinez and Prestige. Gregg M. Rosenberg and Tracey D. Lewis of Rosenberg & Associates, in Houston, Texas represented Athans, Martinez and Prestige.