In late May, the South Florida-based brokerage Sutter & Nugent filed a lawsuit against SERHANT., and two former Sutter & Nugent agents, Matthew Moser and Nicholas Gonzalez.
The lawsuit alleges that Moser and Gonzalez stole trade secrets from their prior firm to take to SERHANT, in violation of their contracts.
The Palm Beach Gardens-based brokerage claims it had invested a “substantial amount of money” in establishing its office in Boca Raton, where Moser and Gonzalez operated. The plaintiffs are seeking an unspecified amount of damages from the defendants.
According to the lawsuit, Moser and Gonzalez on March 20 notified Talbot Sutter, the firm’s broker and president, that they were leaving. The complaint says that Sutter initially attempted to keep the two agents, but after discovering that they had tried to recruit other agents and staff member to move to SERHANT. with them, the firm terminated their agreements.
Sutter & Nugent also allege that in late May, Moser and Gonzalez recruited William Volpe, who previously led the firm’s Jupiter office, to join SERHANT., and that the two agents used confidential marketing data and took listing that had started with Sutter & Nugent over to SERHANT.
David Beckerman of Beckerman Law, the attorney for the defendants, denied the allegations and filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
In April, SERHANT. launched its national expansion effort, setting up operations in Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina and Connecticut. A second wave of expansions is expected to be announced in the coming months.
In Pennsylvania, news of this expansion was not universally met with enthusiasm. Philadelphia-based Keller Williams Black Label and the firm’s parent company, the Condo Shop LLC, alleged that Serhant, along with his Philadelphia team lead, Andrea Desy Edrei, have “plundered” KW Black Label’s “clients, intellectual property, confidential information and personnel, while crippling its ability to operate.” The KW franchise is seeking over $10 million in damages.
SERHANT. declined to comment and attorneys for the plaintiffs did not immediately return a request for comment.