EPIC Insurance Brokers & Consultants last week went against a rival broker who previously alleged that EPIC and a former employee had violated a non-compete agreement.
The dispute, which involves lawsuits filed in federal district courts in Mississippi and Tennessee, stems from the departure of an employee who left a Mississippi-based brokerage to join EPIC in 2019, allegedly taking clients with her.
In the first lawsuit, Jackson, Mississippi-based Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance Inc. filed suit against San Francisco-based EPIC and former employee Parker M. Rains in September. Fisher Brown Bottrell alleged that Mr. Rains violated a 2009 non-compete agreement when he left the brokerage to join EPIC that month, according to Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance Inc. v. Parker M. Rains and Edgewood Partners Insurance Center d/b/a/ EPIC Insurance Brokers and Consultants in the US District Court in Jackson.
The lawsuit alleges that Mr. Rains acquired the operations of several Fisher Brown Bottrell clients.
The suit seeks an injunction against the defendants, accusing them of violating the Mississippi Uniform Trade Secrets Act; breach of fiduciary duty, contract and duty of good faith and fair dealing; and with tortious interference with business relations. It requires a contractual penalty against Mr. Rains, and actual and punitive damages, among other claims.
EPIC filed a motion with the court last Tuesday to transfer the case to the US District Court in Nashville, Tennessee, stating that Mr. Rains, who lives in Tennessee, does not have clients in Mississippi and has not called on clients in the state. The court issued an order halting discovery in the case pending resolution of the matter.
Meanwhile, EPIC and Mr. Rains last week sued Fisher Brown Bottrell in United States District Court in Nashville, seeking a ruling that the restrictive covenants in the employment agreement between Mr. Rains and the Mississippi brokerage house cannot be enforced, according to the filing in Parker M. Rains and Edgewood Partners Insurance Center v. Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance Inc.
It says that the companies that followed Mr. Rains to EPIC decided to do so “on his own accord.”;
A first case management conference in the matter took place on 9 January 2023.
Attorneys in the case did not respond to requests for comment.