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Hall v. Edgewood Partners Insurance Center, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division

May 19, 2017

Brian K. Hall, Plaintiffs
v.
Edgewood Partners Insurance Center, Inc., Defendant

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Jeffrey J. Helmick, United States District judge

         This matter is before me on the Defendant's motion for a temporary restraining order (Doc. No. 11) and Plaintiffs' opposition (Doc. No. 15). Also before me are the post-hearing supplemental briefs of the parties (Doc. Nos. 19 and 22) including exhibits. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1332.

         Background

         In the late 1980's, Brian Hall and Michael Thompson began working in the commercial property and casualty insurance industry aimed at the equipment rental market. In late 1996, Hall and Thompson formed the entity Hylant Specialty Programs and continued to sell and market property and casualty insurance in this same market throughout the United States.

         In the spring of 2012 and pursuant to an asset purchase agreement, USI acquired certain assets from Hylant. Both Hall and Thompson were employed by USI and both their employment agreements with USI contained restrictive covenants including confidentiality, non-competition, and non-solicitation.

         In December 2016, Edgewood Partners Insurance Center, Inc. acquired certain assets of USI's equipment and rental business including the right to enforce the restrictive covenants in the Hall and Thompson agreements. Hall and Thompson were advised their talents would be utilized until May 2017, at which time they would become employees of EPIC.

         In March 2017, Hall was advised he would not be offered employment with EPIC. A month later, Thompson was offered a position with EPIC albeit with reductions in compensation and benefits. When Thompson advised EPIC he would not execute the employment agreement, he was immediately terminated.

         On April 17, 2017, Hall and Thompson initiated this complaint for declarator;' relief against EPIC relative to post-employment restrictive covenants. Plaintiffs seek a declaration that they be permitted to continue to work with their long-standing and pre-existing clients developed prior to HPICs acquisition of USI.

         Two days later Plaintiffs filed a motion for an expedited hearing on their declaratory judgment action. (Doc. No. 4). On April 27, 2017, 1 held a telephonic status conference and set a hearing for May 24th.

         Defendant filed its motion for a TRO and preliminary injunction on May 10, 2017. Defendants want Plaintiffs enjoined from violating the terms of their post-employment restrictive covenants. Specifically, the Defendants want the Plaintiffs to cease soliciting, directing or indirectly, or accepting business from EPIC's restricted clients.

         On May 15, 2017, 1 conducted a hearing on Defendant's motion.

         Applicable Legal Standard

         Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(b), I must examine and weigh the following factors to determine the propriety of a TRO or a preliminary injunction: (1) whether the moving party has shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits; (2) whether the moving party will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not issued; (3) whether the issuance of the injunction would cause substantial harm to others; and (4) whether die public interest would be served by issuing the injunction. Overstreet v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County ...


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