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Prudential Insurance Co. of America v. Browne

January 12, 2006

THE PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA AND PRUCO SECURITIES, LLC, PLAINTIFFS
v.
DENNIS BROWNE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Conner

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the court is plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. For the reasons that follow, the court will grant plaintiffs' motion.

I. Background

Defendants Dennis Browne ("Browne"), Andrew Grace ("Grace"), and Anthony Conte ("Conte") are former employees of Prudential.*fn1 Each resigned from Prudential on November 18, 2005 and now work for the Conte-Browne Group, LLP. (See Doc. 4 ¶¶ 2, 25.)

Browne began working for Prudential in January 1996. In December 2002, Browne became a Statutory Agent and signed a Statutory Agent Agreement. (See Doc. 5, Ex. C.) Before becoming a Statutory Agent, Browne was a Sales Manager operating under a Field Manager Agreement. (See Doc. 5, Ex. B.)

Grace began working for Prudential in June 2000. In September 2002, Grace became a Statutory Agent and signed a Statutory Agent Agreement. (See Doc. 5, Ex. E.) Before becoming a Statutory Agent, Grace was a Financial Services Associate operating under a Financial Services Associate Agreement. (See Doc. 5, Ex. D.)

Conte began working for Prudential in August 2004. In October 2004, Conte became a Financial Services Associate and signed a Financial Services Associate Agreement. (See Doc. 5, Ex. F.) Before becoming a Financial Services Associate, Conte was a trainee and, therefore, not permitted to sell insurance or securities products. (See Doc. 15, Supplemental Decl. ¶ 17.)

The Statutory Agent Agreement signed by Browne and Grace contains the following confidentiality and restrictive covenants:*fn2

Section 6 - Confidential and Proprietary Information; Company Documents; Company Property . . . .

(b) All Confidential and Proprietary Information, whether provided to you by Prudential or by any customer, client, customer lead or prospect, or from any other source, or prepared by you while associated with the Company in any capacity, is entrusted to you as an agent and representative of Prudential. You acknowledge that this Confidential and Proprietary Information is unique, extremely valuable to Prudential and is developed and acquired by great expenditures of time, effort and cost. You agree that this Confidential and Proprietary Information shall be treated by you at all times as confidential and as the proprietary property of Prudential. You agree not to divulge or disclose this Confidential and Proprietary Information to any third-party either during your association with the Company or at any time thereafter, except in the performance of your duties for the Company.

(c) Upon termination of this Agreement by either party, . . . you shall immediately return to Prudential all documents described above, including but not limited to, originals, copies and computerized records containing such Confidential and Proprietary Information. You further agree, upon written request from Prudential, to certify in writing that you have complied with this provision of this Agreement. . . .

Section 7 - Restrictive Covenant

Upon termination of your association with the Company, from any capacity, you agree that for a period of two years following the date of such termination, you will not, directly or indirectly, as to any product or service of the type issued, marketed or sold by the Company:

(i) solicit from or attempt to solicit from; or

(ii) sell to or attempt to sell to any person, company or organization that was sold to or serviced by any agency to which you were assigned, whose name became known to you, or to whom you have sold, or for whom you were named Agent of Record, or servicing representative, on any product or service issued, marketed or sold by the Company, during the course of your association with the Company in any capacity. The activity prohibited includes, but is not limited to, attempting to induce any such person, company or organization to withdraw values from product/service in force with the Company for the purpose of entering into any non-Company transaction.

You also agree, during your association with the Company, in any capacity, and for a period of two years after the termination of your association with the Company, that you will not induce or attempt to induce any person associated with, or under contract with, the Company to terminate, and that you will not otherwise facilitate the termination by any such person of, his/her relationship with the Company. . . .

The Statutory Agent Agreement also contained the following ...


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