The opinion of the court was delivered by: MOTLEY
1. Plaintiff Gary Grappo is a citizen of the state of Florida. (Pretrial Order "PTO" at 2).
2. Plaintiff is an author of business books and periodicals and a customer service culture development consultant who has over ten years' experience in the fields of human resources and customer service training. (Tr. at 28-30.)
3. Defendant Alitalia Linee Aeree Italiane, S.A. ("Alitalia") is an airline incorporated under the laws of the Republic of Italy, with its principal place of business in Rome, Italy. Alitalia's executive office for North America is located in New York City. (PTO at 2.)
4. Defendant Gianfranco Bianchi was Alitalia's Personnel Manager for North America during the time that plaintiff worked for Alitalia. (PTO at 2). Defendant Bianchi has since retired and is no longer employed at Alitalia. (Tr. at 353).
5. By 1988, based upon his experience in human resources and customer service training, plaintiff developed a customer service training processing program which he entitled "Guest*Star." (Tr. at 30.)
6. The purpose of Guest*Star is, in plaintiff's words, "to create a service-culture within the organization, a service-minded culture where individuals think of servicing the guests rather than just doing their jobs." (Tr. at 31.)
7. The implementation of Guest*Star involves a number of fairly time-consuming steps. (Tr. at 34.) First, the employees of the business in question are told to complete surveys in order to determine the strong and weak areas within the organization. (Tr. at 32.) The surveys are then analyzed and presented to the senior managers of the business in the form of a report. (Tr. at 33.) Finally, feedback is received from the senior management and the process of training the employees begins. (Tr. at 35).
8. Prior to being employed by Alitalia, plaintiff Grappo had tailored his Guest*Star program in the manner described above for a number of companies, including the Four Seasons U.S.A., the Boca Raton Hotel and Country Club, and the Breakers of Palm Beach. (Tr. at 312-13). Plaintiff was not employed by any of these organizations but rather worked as an outside consultant. (Tr. at 313).
Plaintiff's Employment with Defendant
9. In the late fall of 1991, plaintiff, responding to an advertisement in the Miami Herald, applied for a job with defendant Alitalia as a manager for operations at the Miami International Airport. (Tr. at 36.) Plaintiff's application was rejected, but his resume was retained by defendant. (Tr. at 36.)
10. In January of 1992, an employee of defendant Alitalia called him and informed him that the airline had a position available that required his skills. (Tr. at 36.) Specifically, defendant was seeking to purchase a customer service training program created by a company called Systema (the "Systema program") and it needed personnel to assist in its implementation. After interviewing with defendant Bianchi and another employee of defendant Alitalia, plaintiff was given the job at the end of February, 1992, and he began work several days later. (Tr. at 37, 40.)
Defendant's Discontinuance of Systema and Subsequent Adoption of Guest*Star
11. In early March, days after his arrival at defendant Alitalia, plaintiff was informed that, due to the relatively high cost of the Systema program, it was appearing increasingly unlikely that defendant Alitalia would be implementing it. (Tr. at 51-52.)
12. Plaintiff then told defendant Bianchi that he thought that his Guest*Star program could be implemented for a fraction of the cost of the Systema program. (Tr. at 52.)
13. Within a day of being so informed, defendant Bianchi told plaintiff that the two of them were going to go to Rome to make a presentation at Alitalia headquarters regarding his Guest*Star program. (Tr. at 53-55.)
15. Within a few days of returning from Rome, plaintiff was told by defendant Bianchi that the directors in Rome were pleased with his proposal. Plaintiff was then asked by defendant Bianchi to make a similar presentation to the ...