Texas Service Sues Competitor Over Vandalism Claims
Houston-based ambulance service Republic EMS is suing a local competitor, City Ambulance, over allegations that City's employees vandalized Republic vehicles by cutting their brake lines, shooting out their windows and installing GPS tracking devices on them, according to Courthouse News Service.
The alleged offenses have led the plaintiff to spend over $100,000 on strengthening security to prevent further damages. Republic included the owner of City Ambulance, Mohamad Massoud, in the lawsuit in an effort to remove him from the company, the article states.
Now serving as marketing chief of Republic EMS, Omar Dar resigned from City Ambulance after Massoud allegedly failed to uphold his promise to give Dar a stake in the company. Several other individuals also allegedly left City Ambulance to work for Republic EMS, which the lawsuit claims to be due to Republic’s “superior ambulance service and superior working environment for its employees.”
According to Courthouse News, the complaint states that the loss of his employees to Republic instigated Massoud’s resentment of his competitor, allegedly causing him to authorize individuals to inflict the damages against Republic's ambulances.
The attacks occurred in the fall of 2016 throughout the area. They ranged from shooting windows with firearms to cutting brake lines in one of the vehicles. Repairs on the nine trucks involved totaled $11,000. During the repairs, an auto body shop discovered the tracking devices. Republic alleges these were used by City to determine the location of the vehicles so they could vandalize them, as well as find out who Republic’s customers were so City could try to poach them. Upon determining the identities of Republic clients, the suit says, City Ambulance sent marketing materials to their residences.
Republic reported the discovery to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, which responded by confiscating the tracking devices, the article states.
Republic’s complaint claims Edith Hernandez, the wife of the director of City Ambulance, Hadi Mneimneh, purchased the GPS tracking devices. Hernandez is listed as a defendant in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also claims the damaged vehicles put patients in danger; in one case paramedics purportedly didn’t realize their windows were shot out until they arrived to pick up a patient. This prevented the patient from being transported and delayed their treatment. The complaint states, “It is fortunate that no patient died or has been seriously injured as a result of the vandalism.”
Republic’s lawsuit is seeking punitive damages based on charges for conspiracy, tortious interference, conversion, and aiding and abetting. It also requests that Massoud and Hernandez be deposed from City Ambulance.
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