Firm sues former employee

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Shine Lawyers is suing a former employee for $665,000 who allegedly took six clients when he left the firm.

Aviation law expert Joseph Wheeler allegedly breached confidentiality clauses when he took the clients, all of whom have relatives who died in the Malaysia Airlines MH17 and MH370 disasters, The Courier Mail reported.

Lodged in the Brisbane Supreme Court, Shine’s statement of claim says he asked them to transfer files to his new business, International Aerospace Law & Policy Group, where he was acting as an agent for Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.

“Shine funded Wheeler to travel nationally and internationally including to Malaysia, China and Canada to meet with relatives of the victims of the plane crashes and to publicise to relatives and other experts in aviation compensation matters Shine’s expertise in such matters,” the claim said.

According to Shine, the clients represented a commercial opportunity with an estimated 50 per cent chance of attracting a further 30 contracts from family members relating to the disasters.

Wheeler denies the allegations, his defence indicating that information on the family members was public and that the clients’ decision to follow him was made by them.

A hearing date has not yet been determined.
  • Flicker on 5/11/2015 4:44:34 PM

    These kind of court cases tend to fizzle out in the end and are just a stick employers try to use to keep talented employees in line.

  • Louise Steer on 5/11/2015 2:51:36 PM

    Very interesting development, considering that recruiters both external and inhouse are only interested in hiring candidates that can bring their clients with them - and are open about it in ads and interviews. If you can't provide a big enough client base as a senior lawyer, you are simply unemployable these days. But if you could, why would you go to these firms instead of setting up on your own?

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