But while executives for both insurance agencies were all smiles at the events, behind the scenes a legal battle between the two crosstown rivals that began last years continues to heat up.
Three new court filings this month have further intensified the legal battle that began a little over a year ago between Brown & Brown and Foundation Risk, an upstart rival founded by some of Brown & Brown's former executives.
The latest court filing by Foundation Risk was made on
Foundation Risk, in its latest court filing, argues that those documents in question that Brown & Brown did not identify until
"Just as Foundation Risk did, the Court, the newspaper, and any competitor can request the documents from the
Foundation Risk in its latest court filing included an attachment showing a copy of the certification certificate from the
The other two court filings this month by Foundation Risk include a lawsuit filed on
The three court filings in November come on the heels of several other lawsuits Brown & Brown and Foundation Risk have filed against each other.
They include a lawsuit
Foundation Risk is accusing Brown & Brown Account Executive
The battle between the two companies began when Brown & Brown in
Tinsley, who left Brown & Brown in 2016, is now chief administrative officer for Foundation Risk.
Brown & Brown in that original lawsuit accused Tinsley, Foundation Risk CEO
The lawsuit also accuses Lydecker and the other former Brown & Brown executives now with Foundation Risk of using "burner phones" to conceal their their actions and of holding a "clandestine meeting" at Tinsley's
Lydecker, former retail division president for Brown & Brown, and the company's other founders, which include a handful of other ex-Brown & Brown executives, have refuted their ex-employer's accusations.
Despite the dueling lawsuits and claims on both sides that they are being harmed by the other, both Brown & Brown and Foundation Risk continue to grow.
Brown & Brown, the nation's sixth-largest independent insurance brokerage, saw its annual revenues top the
Foundation Risk, which formed in
Fast forward to this month.
Foundation Risk in its
"Despite this massive fishing expedition, Brown & Brown now comes and identifies only two documents to support its misappropriation claim against (Foundation Risk)."
Tolland and McBee in their lawsuits argue that the two-year restriction for soliciting Brown & Brown clients should be voided because of the overly broad language of the agreements and also because the national insurance brokerage has so many subsidiaries that operate under different names across the country.
Brown & Brown last year made 23 acquisitions and so far this year has announced plans for 22 more, according to the investor relations page of its website.
"In the case of
"Now they (Brown & Brown) want to restrict (Tolland's) activities in an overly broad way to limit his ability to compete fairly against Brown & Brown," Samuels added. "Similarly, they're trying to preclude
Ingram, the Brown & Brown attorney with
"It's standard in the industry," he said.
"Brown & Brown filed a single lawsuit to protect its rights," Ingram said. "To date, Foundation Risk or its employees have filed five separate lawsuits against Brown & Brown. Like the Tolland case, all are without merit.
"Clearly, Foundation Risk and its employees believe that the filing of these merit-less suits will somehow change the fact that they covertly took confidential information from Brown & Brown and used that information for personal gain."
"The Brown & Brown case is moving toward a resolution in trial (but) I do not expect a trial this year," said Ingram.
Foundation Risk stated that it is continuing efforts to reach an out-of-court settlement, but wrote, "Brown & Brown refuses to engage in any substantive conversations that could de-escalate the tensions between the two companies.
"These latest threats by Brown & Brown are just more steps designed to quash competition and to try and slow down Foundation's incredible success in
Ingram responded, "Because the facts and law are against it, Foundation Risk is apparently attempting to try this case in the newspaper. Brown & Brown intends to try its case solely in the court, based on the law and the facts."
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