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Brown & Brown Scores Legal Victory Over Rival

DAYTONA BEACH - Brown & Brown has scored a victory in its court battle with rival AssuredPartners Inc.

Daytona Beach-based insurance agency Brown & Brown has accused the Lake Mary-based firm of hiring Brown & Brown employees who then took Brown & Brown customers with them in violation of their employment agreements.

Judge Dennis Craig of the Seventh Judicial Circuit in Daytona Beach on Oct. 14 granted Brown & Brown's motion for temporary injunction against Assured, according to the attorneys representing Brown & Brown.

Assured was founded in 2011 by five ex-Brown & Brown executives that included former vice chair/chief operating officer Jim Henderson, who is now CEO at Assured, and former chief acquisition officer Tom Riley, who is now Assured's president and chief operating officer.

Attorneys Tom Leek and Melissa Murphy of Daytona Beach-based Cobb Cole and Michael Kelly and Katheleen Ehrhart of Chicago-based Freeborn & Peters are representing Brown & Brown in the case.

The judge found that former Brown & Brown employees Brian Lindahl, Phillip Masi, Negar Sharifi, Michael Randall, Richard Schwarz II, Kathryn Bloodwell, Jennica Mandarano and Danielle Mattson had serviced or were working with former customers of Brown & Brown while employed at Assured, according to Leek.

The ruling bars Assured from taking Brown & Brown accounts serviced by the former employees while at Brown & Brown. It also requires Assured to divest accounts inappropriately procured, Leek said.

"This is a huge victory," said Leek. "Anybody (employees) can leave Brown & Brown and go to work for any competitor, but they can't take Brown & Brown's customers with them."

"What makes this ruling significant," he added, "is you have a court enforcing a contract between Brown & Brown and its former employees that also enforces the terms of that contract against their new employer."

Brown & Brown is also seeking monetary damages, which have yet to be determined, Leek said.

The News-Journal was unable to reach officials at Assured or their attorney for comment. Read article here...

By Clayton Park

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