TAMPA – In an attempt to enforce a 15-day period between leaving one job and beginning another with a competitor, Willis Insurance Service of Georgia filed a lawsuit against Alliant Insurance Services of Florida and Brent Hartmann, a former employee.
The complaint stated, “This action arises as a result of Alliant’s unlawful attempt to decimate at a nationwide level Willis’ construction industry practice group.”
In its complaint, filed on July 25, 2018, in U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, Willis alleges that “Alliant is attempting to steal millions of dollars of revenues from Willis by convincing Willis employees not to honor their contractual obligations to Willis in their employment agreement.”
In order words, defendants were not only intent on taking Willis’ best clients, but also in convincing some of the company’s best employees to switch companies and work for Alliant. They told them to ignore a contractual agreement that they had to give 15 days’ notice before leaving.
During this time, at least nine Willis employees in Florida, Georgia and Minnesota left, and Willis discovered that another 15 employees throughout the country had been targeted by Alliant, according to court documents.
According to the complaint, at Alliant’s direction, the employees who quit were told to ignore their contractual notice period, Alliant said, “The most Willis can do is try and get damages for your breaching your notice provision.” As a result, Willis filed lawsuits in four separate jurisdictions over 72 hours, court documents showed.
Willis stated in its complaint that: “This raid on Willis’ construction practice has been months in planning. Hartman has extensive knowledge of and relationships with clients of Willis and is a linchpin to the scheme, because he is a major producer with a multi-million dollar book of business. He also has knowledge of Willis’ confidential business information and trade secrets.”
In closing, Willis Insurance requested the court to enter judgment in its favor, declare that Hartmann’s 15-day notice period is enforceable, and enjoin Hartman from working for Alliant for 15 calendar days from the date of the court order. Willis also asked the court to enjoin Hartmann and anyone working with him from soliciting business from clients Hartmann had provided services to while employed by Willis Insurance.
As stated in the complaint, Willis asked for court action to prevent Hartmann from doing business with companies that were Willis clients “either on the date of termination of Hartmann’s employment or within 12 months prior to such termination.” Willis also requested that Hartmann be enjoined from contacting his active prospective clients obtained within six months prior to his termination.
Willis also requested that Hartmann or anyone working for him temporarily be enjoined from soliciting any Willis employee to leave Willis’ employ. Compensatory damages, attorneys’ fee and costs were also requested