The Supreme Court of Alabama partially upheld a decision in favor of EPIC Holdings Inc. and an employee of litigation filed by an insurance broker in Alabama who accused them of breach of contract and disruption of a future employment relationship.
Focus in Friday's judgment in Cobbs, Allen & Hall Inc. v EPIC Holdings Inc . was whether comments made by a former Cobbs Allen employee, now working for Concord, California-based EPIC, to a prospective Cobbs Allen employee violate a previous agreement.
Crawford E. McInnis, an employee of Cobbs, Allen, a unit of CAH Holdings Inc., was fired "for good" and in November 2014 he went to work for EPIC and became local office manager at his office in Birmingham.
In December 201
In June 2018, CAH began negotiations with Michael Mercer, an account manager for Lockton Cos. LLC, about working for it. On the recommendation of another Lockton producer, Mr. Mercer advice from Mr. McInnis on working for CAH.
Mr. McInnis told Mercer that CAH was a "horrible place to work" and other negative comments. Mr. Mercer decided to stay at Lockton and not take CAH's job offer.
CAH brought an action against EPIC and McInnis as to whether the settlement agreement had been breached in that McInnis made the derogatory remarks about CAH, in which EPIC was accused of being directly or immediately responsible for McInnis' conduct.
In January 2020, a lower court in Alabama passed a summary judgment in EPIC and McInnis in favor of all claims and CAH appealed.
"Based on permissible evidence, there is a question as to whether McInnis gave Mercer honest advice," the 6-1 majority statement said, reversing the lower court's decision on whether he had disrupted CAH's future employment relationship with Mr. Mercer.  The majority view otherwise confirmed the lower court's decision and agreed with the lower court that CAH's breach of contract against McInnis and EPIC failed because there was "no obligation not to spoil parties" in the grounds for conciliation.
The minority view said that he would have confirmed the lower court's decision in its entirety.
Speakers for the companies could not be reached for comment.