A jury in Florida has awarded The Broadcast Team Inc., an Ormond Beach business, $18.8 million against Hartford Insurance Co. of the Southeast. The issue involved in the case was whether the company should have been protected by the insurer from the actions of someone who worked for it. In 2001, the company started an automobile dealership in Louisville, Kentucky, and hired an independent contractor, Phillipe Portocorrero of Louisville, as its first salesman. The owners didn’t know that Mr. Portocorrero, who had long worked in auto sales, brought with him marketing materials from previous jobs. In each of the places where the man had worked before, all of the employees were encouraged to get marketing materials from all over the industry. Mr. Portocorrero’s previous employers sued him and the Broadcast Team, claiming that he had taken protected information. The company’s officers believed they would be covered against such a lawsuit by their insurance policy and that Hartford would defend the company and its officers.
In February 2002, company officers received news that Hartford would not cover them, so they settled the case for $237,500, and as a part of the settlement, agreed not to compete with Mr. Portocorrero’s former employers for a period of four years. The Broadcast Team then filed suit against Hartford in an attempt to recoup some of their losses. Hartford tried to show the lawsuit fell under an exclusion in the policy, but the judge entered an order saying that Hartford should have defended the lawsuit. The jury award included $18,550,000 for lost profits, and $237,500 to replace the money that The Broadcast Team had been forced to pay in settlement of the claim.
Source: Daytona Beach News Journal
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