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Berkley sues former exec to recover stock


W.R. Berkley Corp. filed suit against a former employee in federal court in Delaware on Friday seeking the return of almost a half-million dollars in stock it issued over 11 years, saying he had violated an agreement when he left to join a competitor.

Berkley said it had issued Bruce E. Stanley a total of 14,217 shares valued at $473,620 between August 2004 and August 2017 that had vested, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Wilmington in W.R. Berkley Corp. v. Bruce E. Stanley. It also seeks dividends he earned on the stock.

The complaint states that the stock agreements granting Mr. Stanley the shares stipulated that if he engaged in a “competitive action” within one year after termination of his employment the insurer had the right to demand repayment of an amount equal to the stock’s value.

The complaint says Berkley’s board of director’s compensation committee had the “sole and absolute discretion” to determine whether he had engaged in a competitive action in breach of the stock agreements’ applicable provisions, and it determined he had.

Mr. Stanley, who at the time he left the insurer in June 2021 was an assistant vice president and controller-finance with Continental Western Group, an operating unit of a Berkley subsidiary. He has since joined Des Moines, Iowa-based EMC Insurance Cos. as vice president, financial planning and analysis, according to the complaint.