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Modern Spaces Files Suit Against Competitor, Claims Firm Stole Data and Poached Agents

Feb. 8, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

Modern Spaces, the Long Island City based real estate company, has filed a lawsuit against a national firm for allegedly stealing confidential information by way of a former agent and engaging in unlawful “poaching” practices as a means to break into the western Queens market.

The real estate group, founded a decade ago by Eric Benaim, alleges in its complaint that Compass, a coast-to-coast competitor, lured former Modern Spaces employee Jessica Meis away from the company by promising her a signing bonus, stock options, and other items for leaving the brokerage.

The suit claims that Meis, who left Modern Spaces for Compass last month after working there since July 2017, conspired with her new company to steal proprietary information from her former employer to gain an unfair advantage in the market.

Modern Spaces, which is seeking unspecified damages, alleges that Meis emailed dozens of files from the company’s internal system to her personal account, including customer and listing data, in the days before she quit her job there. The suit claims that Meis acted under the directive of Compass, and says the competitor has long been engaging in organized efforts to “poach” agents and employees in other real estate firms.

The suit further claims that Compass provided Meis with “step-by-step” instructions on how to encourage property owners to end their sales agreements with Modern Spaces by having them enter separate agreements with Compass.

Modern Spaces also alleges that Compass went as far as to steal their marketing photographs, including photographs showing their listings, and posted the photos to their own website.

The LIC brokerage said Compass is intentionally targeting its company in an effort to “quickly break into the Queens real estate market”, and that some clients have already terminated their exclusive listings with Modern Spaces, causing damage to the company.

“Rather than attempt to engage in lawful competition, Compass has instead engaged and recruited several Modern Spaces agents with the intention of stealing…confidential information including listings, customer lists, and internal company forms,” reads part of the complaint filed on Tuesday.

Modern Spaces said they’re not the first company “to fall prey to the brazenly unethical actions of Compass.” Compass, for example, has seen lawsuits from the Corcoran Group and from Saunders & Associates, the latter which is still being deliberated on.

“As a company with deep ties to the Long Island City community we serve and support, we will not sit idly by and allow this malicious campaign to publicly undermine Modern Spaces, all in the name of gaining market share,” Modern Spaces said.

Compass denies Modern Spaces’s claims

“Compass has never been found liable by court of committing any of the allegations set forth in Modern Space’s complaint,” the company said in a statement.

Update 4:56 p.m. 2/8 : Statement from Compass added to the article

MS Complaint by Queens Post on Scribd

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18 Comments

LIC Born and Raised

Its bad enough when you have 4 realtors on one block, now they’re suing each other while picking the bones of whats left of this town. Businesses are all facing rising rents. Old time mom and pop shops are getting their rents jacked 4x to “market value” and have Modern Spaces signs in their windows. Only the “elite” can afford to rent or buy now in LIC. This used to be a quiet , friendly affordable neighborhood till these vultures arrived and figured out how to make a fast buck. Real estate is about as sleezy as it gets. Imagine, all you have to do is sit in an office, wait for the phone to ring, show a property and you get a commission. For doing NOTHING. what comes around goes around.




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Common Sense

If you just google compass lawsuits , seems like they have been sued many times for the same exact




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MRLIC

The FAKE MRLIC wrote the February 9, 2018 comment.
To me this is One GREEDY Developer vs. Another GREEDY Developer. They all stink.




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your neighbor

Article says that there was a lawsuit by Corcoran against Compass that was settled. Why no mention of how it was settled? Could it be that it was settled in the favor of Compass but that information did not fit into the theme of this story?
Seems like sour grapes to me – or possibly just a stupid ex-employee who wanted to jump start their career at Compass. I seriously doubt a firm as large as Compass would leave any kind of paper trail that it was done under their instructions.




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Who wants to list my condo?

Poaching or offering a better deal is not really unlawful. Stealing company property upon departure, is. And there are pretty easy ways to sniff that out when you are silly enough to do it on your work computer. Next time, use a jump. 🙄 sucks that this womans name had to be publicly drug thru the mud if it’s the companies who are feuding.




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DPM

On a quick read, there are a couple really dire typos in this thing.
The case is filed by L.I. City Ventures LLC, a NY limited liability company, as plaintiff. Nonetheless, in paragraph 3, the complaint states that plaintiff is a corporation. According to the NYS Dept. of State, it’s a limited liability company, not a corporation.

On a related note, in his affidavit, under penalty of perjury, Eric swears that he is the president of Modern Spaces, LLC. That may be true, but the affidavit goes on to state that Modern Spaces, LLC (a) is the plaintiff of the action, and (b) is a New York corporation.

In fact, Modern Spaces, LLC is not the plaintiff, it’s not registered to do business in NYS, and it’s not a corporation. It’s a Delaware limited liability company.

#sloppy




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MRLIC

Wow these greedy crooked real estate people, like the one I voted for for president, have no morals.




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anonymous

“Compass has never been found liable by court of committing any of the allegations set forth in Modern Space’s complaint,”
Tepid denial, sounds like “I never been convicted”




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anna minou

Realtors deserve a little more they work hard running around all day and night showing apartments and houses without making anything? If Compass is truly providing stock options and bonuses for realtors good for them! Realtors have families to support and waiting for that commission check is not easy for them.




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Skippy

Sounds like sour grapes for Modern Spaces. ‘Unlawful “poaching” practices’?!?! Agents are independent contractors and can leave whenever they want. This is a publicity ruse.




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LIC Mom

Sure, agents can leave whenever they want. But they generally sign an agreement stating they wont take proprietary information and client lists with them when they leave. I don’t think Modern Spaces is wasting time and money paying lawyers if they don’t think they have a case here.




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Anonymous

Hey Skippy, Why is Compass involved in so many lawsuits? It’s not just Modern spaces. There are multiple open cases that are not even mentioned here. Just do a google search. This is a pattern and Good that someone is finally going to put an end to their shenanigans.




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Anonymous

Very funny that you think Modern Spaces put a stop to COMPASS or even be competition. Well at least he dreams big.




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Happy in LIC

Anonymous, check your facts. There are no pending/open lawsuits against Compass from other brokerages besides this one.




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someone poached Skippy's brain

Yes they can leave any time they want, but they can’t steal confidential information.

If you try actually reading the article next time maybe you won’t be so confused.




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confused astorian

Just wondering if the agent comes to a firm withe her or his own clients and customers can she or he take them with?




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