Judge Rejects Conspiracy Claim in Philadelphia Port ‘Broker Wars’

August 21, 2014 – In The News
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Steven K. Ludwig was quoted in The Philadelphia Inquirer article “Judge Rejects Conspiracy Claim in Philadelphia Port ‘Broker Wars.’” While the full text can be found in the August 21, 2014, issue of The Philadelphia Inquirer, a synopsis is noted below.

Ozburn-Hessey Logistics, one of the world’s largest third-party logistics companies, sued when 10 employees left to start a rival U.S. Customs brokerage in Philadelphia.

In 2012, the 10 former Ozburn-Hessey employees launched a customs brokerage called 721 Logistics L.L.C., which entered into a joint venture with a West Coast Company, J&K Fresh East.

Ozburn-Hessey sued, alleging misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, breach of duty of loyalty and conspiracy. With more than 7,000 employees worldwide and about 139 in Philadelphia, the company claimed it was crippled by the loss of workers and sought economic damages of $4.7 million plus counsel fees.

“This is a David vs. Goliath case and David won,” said Ludwig, who led Fox Rothschild’s legal team on behalf of the start-up company.

Ludwig represented Lawrence Antonucci Jr. and many of the other defendants. He argued that the allegedly stolen client contact information was not protected trade secret but was developed by Antonucci.

“A family business with a group of incredibly hardworking, loyal, competent people set out to provide the best service to customers,” Ludwig said. “Their former employer didn’t like it, and sued them.”

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