Tampa Agency Sues Former Account Coordinator Over Business Loss

By Matt Van Hoven 

Temperatures are rising in the Tampa Bay, Florida ad market where a non-compete is being challenged after account executive Jeremy Jones left Pyper Paul + Kenney for Spark Branding House &#151 and then helped his new employer win one of PP+K’s clients, regional grocer Sweetbay. PP+K is calling foul, and stated in the filing that Jones violated a non-compete, reports the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Per TBBJ: “Jones had worked at PP+K as an account coordinator and later an executive for three years when he and Dustin Tamilio left the agency to join Spark last September.”

“In its lawsuit, PP+K says Jones is engaged in work that is in ‘direct competition’ to PP+K and is utilizing PP+K’s ‘practices, procedures, methods, trade secrets and customer lists,’ which was a violation of the non-compete Jones signed in April 2008.”

Jones and Tamilio were the team that represented the US in the 2009 Young Cannes Lions Film competition. Jones was an account executive at PP+K, but he was able to transition to copywriter at Spark.

Proving a non-compete was breached can be difficult, but PP+K seems to think they have a good case. It hinges on what the TBBJ reported as non-specific allegations &#151 PP+K learned from “various Internet sources” that “Spark was soliciting clients”.

Neither agency provided any comment on the issue, save for what can be found on TBBJ’s site. The story is behind a pay-wall, but we’ve represented most of what they covered, here. We’ll follow up with more when the proceedings begin.

(editor’s note: We contacted the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Michael Hinman and got permission to use his quotes. The Hillsborough County Clerk’s office is on furlough today, making it impossible to gain access to information regarding the suit filing, hence our reliance on TBBJ’s story.)

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