Reeves v. Hanlon, 106 Cal. App. 4th 433 (2003)

Attorney Robert L. Reeves filed a lawsuit against attorneys Daniel P. Hanlon and Colin T. Greene and their law firm, Hanlon & Greene (H&G), after Hanlon and Greene abruptly resigned from their positions with Reeves & Hanlon (R&H) and allegedly persuaded certain R&H employees to join H&G, solicited R&H’s clients, misappropriated trade secrets, destroyed computer files and withheld property that belonged to R&H. Following a bench trial, the judge concluded that H&G had engaged in interference with contracts and prospective economic opportunity, resulting in damages totaling $182,180. The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment in favor of Reeves, holding that Hanlon and Greene had interfered with the Reeves firm’s employment relationship with its employees, even though the employees were terminable at will. In so holding, the Court expressly declined to follow GAB Business Serv., Inc. v. Lindsey & Newsom Claim Serv., Inc., 83 Cal. App. 4th 409 (2000).