Health administrator says former employee violated non-compete agreement

Kelly Holleran Aug. 21, 2012, 4:21am


A Beaumont company claims one of its employees began working for a competitor and stole clients from it.

Greentree Administrators filed a lawsuit Aug. 2 in Jefferson County District Court against Bill Lindsey.

In its complaint, Greentree, which is a third-party administrator and employee benefits plan consultant, claims it hired Lindsey in February 2011. During his employment with the company, Lindsey gained access to confidential company records, according to the complaint.

On June 21, Lindsey abruptly resigned, telling some people that he was leaving to work with plan-managed clinics and telling others that he planned to retire, the suit states.

Under the terms of Lindsey's employment contract, for 12 months following his resignation, he was not allowed to work for a competitor that operates within 30 miles of Beaumont, the complaint says.

However, Greentree claims it discovered that shortly after his resignation, Lindsey began working for Care ATC, a company that offered substantially the same services as Greentree.

"Care ATC, as solely a clinic administration and development company, does not have the third party claims administrator information or benefit plan consulting information, which provides Greentree with a distinct competitive advantage over Care ATC," the suit states. "However, if someone from Greentree gave Care ATC the privileged and confidential information that Greentree gleaned from its third party administrator/benefits plan consulting work, the competitive advantage would be completely lost."

Lindsey has taken such confidential information from Greentree and stored it on his laptop, the complaint says. Lindsey refuses to return the material, according to the complaint.

Lindsey has already taken three customers from Greentree, and the company fears it will lose more, the suit states.

In its complaint, Greentree alleges breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of confidential and proprietary information, conversion, unfair competition and unjust enrichment against Lindsey.

Greentree seeks an order requiring Lindsey to immediately return all of the confidential information and an order that would prevent Lindsey from using the information. It also seeks an order preventing Lindsey from working on behalf of its former clients, an order that prohibits Lindsey from destroying any information he has taken from Greentree, an order that prevents Lindsey from talking to any of Greentree's current employees and one that prohibits Lindsey from serving clients within a 30-mile radius of Beaumont.

Greentree also seeks punitive damages, plus pre-judgment interest, attorneys' fees, costs, post-judgment interest and other relief the court deems just.

James W. Henges and Larry J. Simmons of Germer Gertz in Beaumont will be representing it.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. E192-767

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