Sun. Oct 1st, 2023
Lawsuit: Broker applied ‘burner phone’ to violate injunction in non-contend scenario

From still left, Terrance Hunt, Shane Ozment and Chris Cowan. (BusinessDen file pics)

Newmark claims that a single of the a few Denver brokers who left the agency for a rival final year has violated a court buy prohibiting him from competing with Newmark for 12 months.

In a court submitting in the company’s residence condition of New York past 7 days, Newmark asked a judge to hold Chris Cowan in contempt of court docket, indicating he has been making use of a ‘burner phone’ to violate the injunction that was issued very last July.

That injunction was issued for Cowan and colleagues Terrance Hunt and Shane Ozment, who jumped from Newmark to CBRE past May possibly. The three adult males have been subsequently sued by Newmark, which alleged they had been violating a non-contend clause they signed with Newmark as component of the company’s 2014 acquisition of a organization the a few guys each and every owned a tiny stake in.

The injunction prohibits the trio from “providing any brokerage services” in Colorado and from “directly or indirectly competing” with Newmark in the condition. Attorneys for the gentlemen formerly argued the injunction is imprecise, but the decide in the case declined to delve into the particulars of what is and isn’t authorized.

Newmark, citing records created during the lawsuit’s discovery stage, alleges in the hottest submitting that Cowan attained out to two Newmark shoppers in August 2021, soon after the injunction was issued.

“Cowan listed here new burner phone,” a single text read.

“Chris Cowan #burner! Have a fantastic weekend,” go through the second.

In the coming months, Newmark alleges, Cowan used the mobile phone to collaborate with other CBRE staff members on brokerage transactions, specifically citing deals pertaining to land in Littleton and a learn-planned neighborhood in Thornton.

“As just lately as March 15, 2022, CBRE personnel have been searching for Cowan for ‘sign off’ on a transaction in Aurora, Colorado,” Newmark said in an April 11 filing. “For some of this aggressive work, Cowan applied proprietary Newmark files and facts that he took with him to CBRE. All of this professional real estate brokerage do the job is plainly prohibited by the injunction.”

Newmark alleges that, although Cowan made textual content messages from the cell phone as aspect of the discovery course of action, he has not delivered a log of calls designed making use of the product.

An legal professional for Cowan disputed Newmark’s characterization of the texts.

“Mr. Cowan denies Newmark’s accusations, which even Newmark admits are nothing but speculation centered on a handful of documents that Mr. Cowan voluntarily developed in the case,” Gibson Dunn attorney Ryan Stewart stated. “Mr. Cowan appears to be ahead to presenting the specifics in Courtroom, and we are self-assured that Mr. Cowan will be vindicated.”

Newmark has not accused Hunt or Ozment of violating the injunction, while court records present that the company’s attorneys requested Ozment to confess to using a burner cellular phone amongst May perhaps and December 2021.

Ozment’s attorneys stated in response that “he used a prepaid cellular phone purchased by his wife only to talk with his wife for personalized relatives matters when Defendant was without the need of his principal mobile phone.” The attorneys also objected to the question, expressing “the phrase ‘burner phone’ is argumentative and makes an attempt to suggest or connote malicious intent or wrongdoing,” courtroom documents clearly show.

Newmark argues that Cowan’s phone use implies the firm should be entitled to a lot more information.

“From the onset of this situation, Plaintiffs have sought discovery about Defendants’ submit-Injunction exercise,” Newmark suggests. “CBRE has steadfast refused, as have Defendants with very minimal exceptions, using the position that Newmark has no choice but to have confidence in … Defendants are no for a longer period entitled to that have confidence in.”

The scenario also threatens to convey CBRE back into the situation. The business was integrated in Newmark’s original lawsuit against the gentlemen, but a judge dismissed CBRE as a defendant in just weeks. Before this month, Newmark submitted a movement asking courtroom permission to renew its opposition to CBRE’s ask for to be dismissed from the case, citing information created during discovery.

“This details was not obtainable to Newmark through the first briefing of CBRE’s movement to dismiss very last May perhaps and June and contradicts specific representations produced by CBRE to the Court at that time,” a Newmark attorney wrote in an affidavit.

CBRE and Newmark didn’t reply to requests for comment very last 7 days. A hearing on the issue is scheduled for May well 4.

Cowan, Hunt and Ozment previously missing their enchantment of the just one-yr injunction. They were being also dealt a blow late last month when a judge denied their ask for to counter-sue Newmark for aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary obligation.


Judge rules against CBRE brokers in Denver

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