Findex-owned Prescott Securities has taken legal action against its former managing director for allegedly swaying fellow employees and at least one client away from the company.
According to court documents, Darryl Gobbett was an employee of Prescott from September 1999 to April 2015 and, for a period, its managing director.
He joined non-aligned licensee Baillieu Holst in October 2015 as chief economist and financial adviser, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Prescott has now taken legal action against Mr Gobbett for supposedly breaching a competition contract, which may have led to damages and losses for the company.
“Prescott Securities alleges that Mr Gobbett has breached the restrictive covenant in ... his contract of employment,” the court document states.
“By that clause, Mr Gobbett agreed he would not, during the ‘restraint period’ … solicit or endeavour to solicit any client away from Prescott Securities, undertake or perform work for a client which is work similar to or competitive with the business of Prescott Securities … or solicit or induce any employee or contract of Prescott Securities to leave their employment or cease their engagement.”
Mr Gobbett, however, denies all allegations.
He pleads that because he gave Prescott a six months’ notice and executed a “deed separation”, his employment contract was “superseded and terminated”. Mr Gobbett had been placed on gardening leave from 1 January 2015 to 30 April 2015.
He also argues that the cascading way in which the restraint period is defined means that it is void for uncertainty. The restraint period was defined in the employment contract in a cascading style as 12 months, nine months, six months or three months.
Mr Gobbett denies that Prescott suffered any losses or damages, because the client and the seven employees who left would have done so in any event due to changes in operations at Prescott.
Mr Gobett alleges that Prescott had failed to mitigate losses.
“Prescott Securities ‘did not conduct any or any proper handover meetings between certain of the departed employees, new client adviser employed by Prescott Securities and the client in question’,” the court document states.
A directions hearing in regard to this case will be held on 7 April 2017.
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