Baton Rouge-based construction company Coastal Bridge Company, LLC, is pursuing damages from Devon Overall and Coastal Contractors, Inc. for alleged “diversion and appropriation of business from Coastal Bridge to Coastal Contractors,” according to court documents.
Devon Overall was functioning as vice president of the Marine/Structures Division of Coastal Bridge when he purchased Coastal Contractors from his father. From there, court documents claim that he allowed a Coastal Bridge lease at Plaquemine to lapse. He then shifted that lease and work from Coastal Bridge to his own company by misleading representatives from other companies as well as clients.
“Throughout 2019, Overall went on a campaign to divert business from Coastal Bridge to Coastal Contractors. He used his Coastal Bridge position (email, letterhead, etc.) when it suited him and switched to his Coastal Contractors position when that became advantageous,” according to the lawsuit.
At the crux of the lawsuit is the “Plaquemine Yard” lease in Iberville Parish along the Plaquemine, which provided access to the bayou that was essential to Coastal Bridge operations. The lease had been held by Coastal Bridge since the 1980s and was subject to renewal every five years. That lease renewal fell under Devon Overall’s job duties as vice president of the marine/structures division of Coastal Bridge.
Using his Coastal Bridge email account, Overall convinced the owners of Plaquemine Yard, A. Wilbert’s Sons to sign a new lease with Coastal Contractors.
Court documents allege that Overall converted the lease by making “blatant misrepresentations concerning the relationship between parties to the Lease.”
The court document states that Overall specifically “touted the Wilbert’s long-standing relationship as being with the Overalls as opposed to Coastal Bridge and that the Overalls were now operating as Coastal Contractors doing bridge construction work. He further represented that Coastal Bridge had been purchased by an employee in the road division and that all parties had agreed that Coastal Contractors would take over the bridge division and Coastal Bridge would continue with the road division.”
In the lawsuit, Coastal Bridge representatives claim that Overall lied for the detriment of Coastal Bridge and the benefit of Coastal Contractors.
According to documents filed in December 2020, Coastal Bridge continues to investigate actions by Overall and Coastal Contractors.
“The diversion and appropriation of business from Coastal Bridge to Coastal Contractors of work at the Plaquemine yard and conversion of the Lease essential to such business, constitutes a breach of Overall’s fiduciary duty to Coastal Bridge,” the documents state.
Coastal Bridge is pursuing damages for lost profits, equipment rental and depreciation “and for essentially driving Coastal Bridge out of business it had enjoyed at least from the 1980’s at the Plaquemine Yard location.” Coastal Bridge is also asking that Coastal Contractors’ current lease of the Plaquemine Yard be transferred back to Coastal Bridge.