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Levesque Plans to File Counterclaims Against Belron US, Attorney Reports

Former Belron US employee Michelle Levesque plans to file several counterclaims against the company in the suit filed against her on Friday, according to her attorney, Michael Boudett of Foley Hoag LLP. In the suit, Belron US alleges that Levesque and an associate, Edward Lee, solicited Belron US employees to leave the company and join a new venture. (CLICK HERE for related story.)

"We are going to sue them back unless this is resolved somehow," Boudett told™/AGRR magazine.

Levesque denies the charges that she solicited current Belron employees to join a new venture, and denies that she is involved in a new venture, according to Boudett. He said when the acquisition of Diamond occurred there was talk throughout the company of what might transpire, leading to the claims alleged in the case.

"There was discussion such as, 'what would happen if I am laid off from Belron, what will I do?'" Boudett said. "There were two women that did have discussions with [Levesque] about what they might do if they left. They talked with her about whether they might have non-compete restrictions or not and they talked about whether they might have options if they were laid off."

However, Boudett said Levesque encouraged her co-workers to remain with Belron US through the acquisition.

"She had many, many conversations in which she was encouraging people to wait and see how things played out with Belron," he said.

According to Boudett, Levesque had no plans to leave the company, until her employment was terminated on July 30 "with no warning whatsoever."

"They [told] her she'd been soliciting, and she [told] them she ha[d] no idea what [they were] talking about," Boudett said.

"The next day they [wrote] a cease-and-desist letter saying she [was] violating a non-compete agreement," he added. "This is false—she has no non-compete agreement; anyone could look in her personnel file and find that it had been superseded. And, they [told] her [they were] going to sue her." (Boudette notes that Levesque did sign a non-compete agreement with Diamond at one time, but that it was superseded when she was hired for a new position in 2005.)

Boudett said his client had no plans to participate in a joint venture, and, while she is an associate of Edward Lee, against whom Belron US has filed a similar complaint, "they have no joint venture and they have never had a venture together."

He also noted that of those named as objects of the alleged solicitation in the complaint, all of them are still with Belron US.

"Even if she had solicited, which … she [has] not, none of them have left," he said.

Likewise, Boudett notes that the complaint was filed in an effort to prevent her from soliciting or attempting to solicit current employees of Belron US.

"They have no basis to stop her," he said. "She's gone now and they have no contract with her. She's free to call up and solicit whomever she wants."

However, he notes, at this point she has made no plans to join any other ventures or businesses and currently is filing for unemployment.

Among the counterclaims Boudett and Levesque files to claim is a charge of defamation for the attention this suit has brought to Levesque.

"… They issued a company-wide memo saying she solicited and violated the company's trust," he said. "She has gotten phone calls about that communication, about [the news coverage], and she's gotten calls from people in the glass industry, but not at Belron or Diamond about this, and she feels that Belron is basically making her unhirable and ruining her career."

Boudett said Levesque also plans to file counterclaims regarding violation of the Family Medical Leave Act, for violation of the Massachusetts wages statute and for "reckless pursuit of false claims against her."

According to Boudett, Levesque had surgery in May and was on medical leave when Belron US acquired the assets of Diamond Glass in late June. While still on medical leave, Levesque alleges Belron officials called her and asked her to attend a meeting in Billerica, Mass., and also asked her to do a branch visit in New Bedford, Mass., which was cancelled last-minute (after Levesque had arrived and waited half an hour, Boudett said).

"We're going to file a counterclaim for violation of the Family Medical Leave Act, for the violation of the Massachusetts wages statute," he said. "We're going to counterclaim for reckless pursuit of false claims against her. In Massachusetts, that's considered an unfair business practice. We fully intend to bring claims back against Belron if this is not resolved."

Levesque was still on medical leave on July 30, Boudett said, when her employment was terminated.

At press time, Lee still had not been able to be reached for comment.™/AGRR magazine called the only known number for Lee and was advised it was a wrong number, and no attorney has yet filed as representing Lee in the case.


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