Court bars Alliant brokers from soliciting former clients at Willis
A federal judge in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Thursday issued a preliminary injunction against a group of former Willis Towers Watson PLC bond brokers who joined rival Alliant Insurance Services Inc last month.
According to the judgment rendered in Willis Towers Watson Southeast Inc. v. Alliant Insurance Services Inc., John T. Thomas, Andrew Bennett and Jennifer Boyers Gullettall three brokers violated non-solicitation agreements they signed when they joined Willis after bringing more than 16 longtime clients to Alliant shortly after leaving Willis.
The three brokers, who all worked out of Willis’ Charlotte office, had access to confidential and proprietary information about Willis’ clients and used the brokerage’s resources to develop and maintain client relationships, according to the ruling.
“To protect its investments, information and customer relationships from unfair competition and to ensure the secrecy of its confidential and proprietary information, WTW SE takes reasonable and prudent measures, such as requiring employees as well as individual defendants to enforce a variety of agreements containing confidentiality provisions, non-solicitation provisions and other forms of covenants,” the decision states.
North Carolina courts previously ruled that the covenants were reasonable, the court heard.
“Without the enforcement of the contractual protections agreed to by WTW SE and the individual defendants, WTW SE will continue to unfairly lose access to the resources it has provided to its employees of the bonding practice through the unlawful solicitation of the defendants. individuals,” the decision states.
The preliminary injunction prohibits brokers from working on former Willis accounts and from soliciting business from other accounts managed by Willis.
The court, however, declined to grant a preliminary injunction against Alliant, stating that Willis failed to demonstrate that Alliant “intentionally incited” the brokers to violate their non-solicitation agreements.