A unit of AssuredPartners Inc. earlier this month sued a broker it terminated and his new employer over alleged breach of a noncompete agreement.
According to papers in AssuredPartners of North Carolina LLC v. Stanley W. Park and Towne Insurance Agency LLC, filed in federal court in Greensboro, North Carolina, Stan Park and his three business partners sold their agency to Orlando, Florida-based AssuredPartners for $20 million in 2017.
Mr. Park worked at AssuredPartners after the sale but was terminated for cause earlier this year and, in anticipation of the expected termination, Mr. Park removed spreadsheets and data related to the brokerage’s clients, court papers say.
At a termination meeting on March 1, AssuredPartners offered him severance pay on condition that he reaffirmed various noncompete, confidentiality and nonsolicitation agreements. “Despite knowing that he had stolen significant trade secret information from AP a mere 48 hours earlier, Park signed the agreement and accepted the payments,” the suit states.
Mr. Park joined rival Norfolk, Virginia-based Towne Insurance Agency LLC, the 54th-largest brokerage of U.S. business, according to Business Insurance’s ranking, and immediately began to solicit AssuredPartners clients, court papers say. AssuredPartners became aware of two clients that moved to Towne.
AssuredPartners raised its concerns with Towne, which agreed that Mr. Park should “stand down” while the matter was resolved. Towne later admitted that eight former AssuredPartners clients had moved to Towne and a further seven were set to move.
“Towne also threatened that it would only hold off on the final maneuvers to convert the additional AP clients to Towne Insurance clients if AP continued to ‘engage in negotiations’ with Towne Insurance to resolve the matter short of litigation,” the suit states.
AssuredPartners filed suit against Towne and Mr. Park on Sept. 16 seeking injunctions against Towne using confidential information and seeking damages.
Attorneys for AssuredPartners and Towne did not respond to requests for comment.