A federal judge in Indianapolis has denied a motion by Edward Jones seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against an advisor who left for a competing firm.

In fact, the evidence was so lacking that the court blasted Edward Jones for being punitive to the advisor, John Kerr, rather than trying to recover from or prevent a loss.

Edward Jones alleged that Kerr, who was employed with the firm for more than 20 years and managed $113 million, knew of an impending termination and thus secretly walked out with confidential client reports that would benefit him at his new firm, Thurston Springer Financial.

In the complaint, Edward Jones alleged that Kerr was facing disciplinary issues at work, which prompted the firm to request that he report for a human resources meeting at its headquarters in St. Louis on August 1, 2019. The firm claims Kerr had to have known he was going to be terminated at the meeting and thus began planning the move to his new company.

But in his affidavit, Kerr argued that from July 16, 2019, to July 27, 2019, he was traveling in Ireland on business for Edward Jones, and during that time, the firm reassigned many of his clients. Upon returning to work, he said he was informed that Edward Jones required him to travel to St. Louis on August 1, 2019, for the HR meeting in regard to an ongoing dispute with his longtime branch office administrator.

Kerr said it was then that he contacted a friend who had experience with Edward Jones to discuss the problems with the administrator. During that conversation, Kerr said the friend informed him that there might be a potential job opportunity for him at Thurston Springer.

Kerr also pointed out that before his Ireland trip he had previously scheduled a branch meeting for July 30, and in preparation for that meeting had printed client reports. He said the reports were destroyed immediately following the meeting.

Judge Sarah Barker ruled that Kerr’s factual account sharply contrasts with Edward Jones’s and is buttressed by his sworn, detailed affidavit.  

The court pointed out that Edward Jones’s request for injunctive relief initially encompassed six claims: that Kerr breached the confidentiality provision of his employment agreement; that he breached the agreement’s non-solicitation provision; that he violated the Indiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act, violated the Defend Trade Secrets Act; that the move amounted to unfair competition; and that it amounted to tortious interference with business relationships.

But the court found that Edward Jones lacked sufficient evidence to support these claims with the exception of one. “Accordingly, we limit our review here to the alleged breach of the non-solicitation provision of the agreement, which is the only claim that might possibly warrant the preliminary injunctive relief sought by Edward Jones.”

First « 1 2 » Next