Judge Denies Wynn Resort’s Injunction Request Against Rival Fontainebleau Casino

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Clark County District Judge Mark Denton rejected a request from Wynn Resorts to implement a temporary injunction against the recently opened Strip casino resort, Fontainebleau, accused by Wynn of luring its top talent away.

Wynn Resorts pressed for the injunction in an attempt to halt Fontainebleau from further persuading its executives to violate their existing employment contracts. The burgeoning casino opened its doors on December 13, 2023, already causing waves in the relatively calmed entertainment sea.

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According to the lawsuit filed by Wynn, Fontainebleau infringed upon a previously held agreement with Wynn Las Vegas (WLV) from early 2023. The pact ensured refraining from unjust endeavors to tamper with WLV’s contracts. Yet, in direct contradiction, it was alleged that Fontainebleau attempted to entice numerous Wynn employees who were under contractual non-compete clauses. The lawsuit vehemently pointed out five violations of this accord.

In its defense, Fontainebleau affirmed that the court had no jurisdiction to issue a generic injunction that forbids employees from accepting superior job offers from a competing company.

Wynn Resorts filed allegations against certain employees, like David Synder, former Wynn executive VP of culinary operations and restaurant development. The lawsuit accuses Synder of not only violating his non-compete agreement but also of attempting to recruit his past colleagues, including Wynn Las Vegas executive chef Chef Sandy Shi.

Other employees called out in the lawsuit include sous chef Brian Kenny, former Wynn staff who switched over to Fontainebleau, and former Wynn executive pastry chef Patrice Caillot, who attempted to recruit Wynn pastry chef Vivian Lam upon joining Fontainebleau.

Michael Waltman, Fontainebleau’s senior VP of nightlife, and Brett Mufson, Fontainebleau Development president, were also accused in the case for allegedly trying to hire Wayne Crane, Wynn’s executive director of talent and nightlife, and Ryan Jones, Wynn’s VP of nightlife. Mike Pappas, Fontainebleau’s General Counsel, was portrayed as cunningly involved in the interference.

Wynn’s lawsuit alleges that after a restraining order was issued against further solicitation, Fontainebleau covertly used recruitment agencies, alleged to appoint newly hired employees to Fontainebleau’s joint in Miami.

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a ban on non-compete clauses in employment contracts across the nation. Still, according to the newly drafted FTC rule, existing non-compete clauses for senior executives, such as those previously obtained by Wynn, would still be enforceable. Therefore, the legal battle is likely to carry on as both parties maneuver their way through this freshly charted legal landscape.