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USI sues former Wells Fargo broker over move to Lockton

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USI Insurance Services L.L.C. has filed suit against a former Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA Inc. broker and Lockton Cos. L.L.C., charging the broker joined Lockton in violation of his noncompete agreement.

Chad Elgas, formerly with Wells Fargo, became a senior private risk adviser for USI after the Valhalla, New York-based brokerage announced plans to acquire the business in June.

The transaction was completed Nov. 30.

He and seven other members of his group resigned from Wells Fargo in November and became employees of Kansas City, Missouri-based Lockton, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Missouri, in USI Insurance Services L.L.C. et al. v. Lockton Cos. L.L.C., Chad Elgas. The litigation, which was filed Dec. 14, was recently publicized.

According to the complaint, Mr. Elgas in July 2017 signed a noncompete agreement with Wells Fargo to not solicit any Wells Fargo client for a period of two years, and prohibiting him from revealing any trade secrets or confidential information.

The complaint says Mr. Elgas, who is now vice president for private risk management at Lockton, has breached that agreement with Lockton’s “active encouragement” and has been soliciting Wells Fargo customers in “direct violation” of his agreement and improperly using the company’s “confidential and proprietary information in the process.”

The complaint cites two couples whose business, it says, he successfully solicited little more than a week after his resignation from Wells Fargo.

Charges filed against Mr. Elgas and Lockton in the complaint include violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act and breach of contract and fiduciary duty.

It seeks a permanent injunction against both defendants, including an order to return all confidential information to Wells Fargo, and to turn over to Wells Fargo his personal computer and other devices for review by Wells Fargo investigators.

A Lockton spokesman said, “We look forward to resolving the issues through the courts.”

In October, EPIC Insurance Brokers and Consultants said it was opening an office in Pittsburgh with a group of former Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA Inc. brokers who are subject to noncompete litigation between the brokerages.