Ackermann PR sues former employee over non-compete

Ackermann PR has filed a lawsuit against a former employee that alleges he violated an agreement by doing PR work in the Knoxville, TN, area following his termination.

Ackermann PR has filed a lawsuit against a former employee that alleges he violated an agreement by doing PR work in the Knoxville, TN, area following his termination. 

The suit, which was filed this month in Knox County Chancery Court, claims that Rick Laney, a former VP at Ackermann, provided PR and marketing services to at least three clients since his termination in April 2012. Under a non-compete agreement, Laney was prohibited from conducting PR work within 50 miles of Knoxville, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, or Nashville International Airport for three years after leaving the firm, the suit alleges.

Ackermann is also seeking a restraining order to prevent Laney from doing PR work in the area.

Laney joined Ackermann in 2008 as a senior account executive and was promoted to VP in 2011.

An agency representative declined to comment on the lawsuit. Laney could not be reached for comment.

“I have had no contact with Ackermann PR for almost a year now. They have made a number of incorrect assumptions in their filing that could have been cleared up with a simple phone call. I'm hopeful that once they see the facts, they'll realize how wrong they are and be willing to settle this,” Laney said in a statement issued to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

In 2011, Ackermann sued former EVP Mike Cohen, alleging he took several Ackermann clients and used confidential information belonging to the agency when he started his own PR firm.

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