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Federal class action lawsuit filed against Pratt & Whitney, other CT aerospace engineering firms

December 16, 2021

By Daniel Tepfer | CT Post | BRIDGEPORT (December 15, 2021) — A Milford lawyer has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Pratt & Whitney and several other aerospace engineering firms alleging the companies are conspiring to prevent employee “poaching” and therefore restricting employees’ potential wage growth.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court Wednesday morning, on behalf of David Granata, of Rhode Island, claims the companies conspired to “restrain competition” within the industry’s labor force.

A similar lawsuit, filed by Stamford law firm Silver Golub & Teitell, also makes the same allegations against the companies on behalf of a client.

The Milford suit states the alleged conspiracy dates back to at least 2011 through at least 2019 when “senior executives and managers at Defendants entered into a conspiracy not to solicit, recruit, hire without prior approval, or otherwise compete for employees, including engineers and other skilled employees.”

In addition to Pratt & Whitney, other companies named in the lawsuit include QuEST Global Services-NA, Inc., of East Hartford; Belcan Engineering Group, LLC and Belcan Engineering Group Limited Partnership, both of East Hartford; Cyient Inc., the East Hartford subsidiary of a company based in Hyderabad, India; Parametric Solutions Inc., of Florida; and Agilis Engineering, Inc., of Florida.

“QuEST intends to vigorously defend against these allegations,” said QuEST spokeswoman Yumi Clevenger-Lee.

Pratt & Whitney, Belcan and Cyient, and the Florida companies did not return emails and calls for comment.

“Defendants agreed to restrict competition for their employees’ services with the purpose and effect of fixing, suppressing, and stabilizing wages, salaries, and benefits and restraining competition in the market for their employees’ services,” the suit states. “The conspiracy disrupted the efficient allocation of labor that would have resulted if Defendants had competed for, rather than colluded against, their current and prospective employees.”

The defendants’ action was “an ideal tool to suppress their employees’ compensation that was simple to implement and easy to enforce,” the lawsuit says.

“The defendants in this case knowingly, intentionally, and cooperatively engaged in a contract, conspiracy, in unreasonable restraint of trade,” said Attorney David Slossberg, who brought the lawsuit.

Granata worked for QuEST Global Services-NA from 2013 to March 2018, primarily on projects for Pratt &Whitney, the suit states.

“As a result of defendants’ no-poach agreement, Mr. Granata earned less than he would have absent the alleged agreement,” the lawsuit states. “Further, because of Defendants’ unlawful agreement, he was also denied access to better, higher-paying job opportunities and his ability to change employment was restricted.”

The lawsuits come nearly one week after the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed a criminal complaint against a former manager for Pratt &Whitney, Glastonbury resident Mahesh Patel, alleging he participated “in a long-running conspiracy with managers and executives of several outsource engineering suppliers... to restrict the hiring and recruiting of engineers and other skilled laborers among their respective companies,” according to a press release issued by the department.

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