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Published: Tuesday, 8/26/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

Huntington sues 7 former employees in Findlay office

Insurance firm alleges unfair competition

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Seven former Huntington Insurance Inc. employees who left the company to set out on their own are being sued for what the Huntington says are illegal and improper business dealings and unfair competition.

Huntington claims the employees, all of whom worked together at the company’s Findlay office, conspired together to join a new company and attempt to lure away Huntington customers by using confidential and proprietary information.

In a lawsuit filed this month in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, Huntington claims to have lost more than 60 business customers to the group since Aug. 1.

In that lawsuit, Huntington alleges Teresa Kuntz of Arcadia, Ohio, and Lorie Montague of Van Buren, Ohio, are in breach of contract with the company.

Huntington also claims charges of civil conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty.

Huntington filed a similar lawsuit in Franklin County Common Pleas Court leveling the same charges against Brett Montague of Van Buren, Roderick Wood of Findlay, Bonnie Elsea of Findlay, Vanessa Allen of Fremont, and Sondra Hassenauer of Wapakoneta, Ohio.

Huntington says it fired Mr. Montague in mid-2013, after which he started Benefit Strategies Agency LLC. in Findlay. The other six defendants resigned together Aug. 1, and now work for or with Benefit Strategies Agency, Huntington claims.

An attorney representing Mr. Montague and the defendants named in the suit filed in Columbus did not return a call Monday seeking comment.

It was not clear if Ms. Montague and Ms. Kuntz had secured legal representation.

A Huntington spokesman said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Huntington Insurance is part of Huntington Bancshares Inc. in Columbus.

A Franklin County judge has issued a temporary restraining order barring the defendants from soliciting or accepting business from any customers of Huntington Insurance.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134 or on Twitter @BladeAutoWriter.



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