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Date Posted: Jun 16, 2018

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Dallas, Texas - 75202



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Attorneys from Hermes Sargent Bates, the eighth-fastest growing law firm in Texas (Texas Lawyer 2007), announce a successful verdict in a breach of employment contract case, with more than $113,000 in past lost profits awarded to its client, Midwest Medical Supply Co. (MMS), in the 116th Judicial District Court of Dallas County, Texas. After a seven-day trial, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of MMS, finding that Mark Wingert breached his fiduciary duty owed to MMS and several provisions in his employment agreements with MMS, including his promise not to use his position with MMS for personal advantage or gain. Hermes Sargent Bates will be submitting their attorneys’ fees to the court as well.

Mr. Wingert, a former sales representative of MMS, a distributor of medical supplies, started his own medical supply distribution company while he was still employed with MMS. His new company would compete directly against MMS, and would seek to represent the same manufacturers in Texas that MMS had been representing in Texas. Attorneys for Hermes Sargent Bates demonstrated to the jury that Mr. Wingert breached his employment contracts with MMS when he established his business while employed by MMS, all unbeknownst to MMS.

“It is clear that the jury greatly disapproved of Mr. Wingert’s conduct while he was still employed for and receiving a salary from MMS,” said Monte Hurst, partner at Hermes Sargent Bates and lead counsel for MMS. “This case emphasizes that we all owe our employers a sense of loyalty so long as we work there, no matter what our future business plans are.”

HSB Partners Monte Hurst, Dan Tostrud and Hilaree Casada represented MMS at trial. Together Hurst, Tostrud and Casada have more than 30 years experience in representing various companies in employment and labor matters.

Local and national attorneys and business leaders met at the Westin Park Central in Dallas on February 2, at Lambda Legal’s launch of Clock In For Equality: May 15 National Day of Action for Workplace Fairness. Hermes Sargent Bates, LLP (“HSB”) Partners Monte Hurst and Amy D. Benavides were involved with the launch.

Clock In For Equality is Lambda Legal's response to a very real need the community has identified: creating and maintaining harassment-free workplaces for all employees. The campaign is designed to enlist businesses large and small across the country to commit to at least one action item on May 15, 2007, in support of its GLBT/HIV and AIDS impacted workers.

"Even though polls show that more than 80% of Americans believe that discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation is wrong, there is still no federal law that forbids it and a majority of the states, including Texas, still lack laws to protect against such discrimination,” said HSB Partner Amy D. Benavides, who serves on the firm’s Diversity Committee and Lambda Legal's National Council, and acts as co-chair of Lambda Legal's local Leadership Committee.

“It was an honor to be asked to serve on the panel at today's Lambda Legal event for such a worthwhile cause,” said Partner Monte Hurst, who is also on the HSB Diversity Committee. “Hermes Sargent Bates and many of the companies with which we are fortunate enough work on employment matters are committed to the ongoing process of examining inclusion in the workplace.”

The breakfast consisted of an overview of the National Day of Action by Hector Vargas, Lambda Legal Deputy Director of Education and Public Affairs, and a panel Q&A. Panelists included: • Monte K. Hurst, partner at the Dallas law firm of Hermes Sargent Bates, LLP, and a frequent author and speaker on trends in employment law, including inclusion and GLBT issues in the workplace.

• Elizabeth Williams, Inclusiveness Leader for the SWSA at Ernst & Young LLP. Her role is designed to assist the Sub-Area in attaining its goals related to gender equity, ethnicity, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusiveness.

• Lorenzo Taylor, Plaintiff in Lambda Legal's lawsuit against Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice for her department's discrimination against Foreign Service Officer job candidates who have HIV.

• Izza Lopez, Plaintiff in Lambda Legal's lawsuit against a medical imaging and diagnostic center in Houston for rescinding their job offer to Ms. Lopez once the human resources director learned the company hired a transgender woman.

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