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Acrisure execs accused of poaching take suit to federal court


A lawsuit by Acrisure LLC accusing six former sales and account executives of poaching at least 20 customers after their coordinated March 15 resignations to join Woodruff Sawyer & Co. has been moved to federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at the defendants’ request.

The New York-based executives said in a March 25 filing that the suit should be litigated in federal court because the parties are based in different states and because the damages being sought exceed $75,000.

Grand Rapids-based Acrisure initially sued Michael Rella, Robert Trager, Christopher Iovino, Matthew Kelly and Robert Kempner in Michigan state court on March 22, alleging breach of contract and seeking an injunction barring them from breaching the terms of their employment agreement. 

The complaint says the former employees breached the terms of their employment agreements by soliciting clients immediately after leaving the brokerage for a direct competitor and accessing, downloading and deleting files from Acrisure’s computer system shortly before resigning.

Acrisure said it learned that the defendants had moved to Woodruff Sawyer after it announced the opening of a New York office led by the former executives on March 18.  

Representatives for the parties did not respond to requests for comment.