Brokers

USI pursues poaching litigation against former broker

USI Insurance Services LLC on Monday filed a request for expedited discovery in noncompete litigation it filed against a former employee who formed his own brokerage.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Nashville on June 29 states that Patrick Baggett, formerly a USI vice president, who had signed a noncompete agreement with the broker, resigned from the broker in August 2021, and formed what became Boxwood Insurance Group LLC in Franklin, Tennessee, in May 2022.

Boxwood subsequently hired two other former USI employees, Tyler Kemp and Jill Holzen, and one former client of Mr. Baggett at USI moved its business to the new brokerage, according to the complaint in USI Insurance Services LLC v. Patrick Baggett and Boxwood Insurance Group LLC.

The complaint says Mr. Baggett’s employment agreement with USI prohibits him from soliciting services from USI clients for two years after his employment’s termination.

“The wholesale damage to USI … cannot be quantified as the exodus of customers to a competitor precipitated by one having detailed knowledge of confidential, proprietary and trade secret information belonging to USI regarding these (and other) customers has diminished (and will continue to diminish) USI’s position in the marketplace and undermine its goodwill,” the lawsuit says.

The suit charges Mr. Baggett with breach of contract, Boxwood with tortious interference, and seeks injunctive relief from both defendants.

The court referred the case to a magistrate judge on July 1.

USI’s motion for expedited discovery states, “Discovery is necessary to assess the nature and extent of Defendant’s unlawful conduct as well as the irreparable harm inflicted as a result of the Defendants’ conduct.”

USI and Mr. Baggett did not respond to requests for comment.

In May, a federal appeals court affirmed a preliminary injunction enforcing a noncompete agreement in a lawsuit filed by USI against a former employee who left to join Alliant Insurance Services Inc.

 

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