Court denies Missouri Professional Mutual’s attempt to get Keane Insurance Group’s interference claims dismissed

Judge Richard Bresnahan has denied a motion by Timothy H. Trout, LLC (Trout) and Missouri Professionals Mutual (MPM) to dismiss tortious interference with business expectancies claims that Keane Insurance Group, Inc. (Keane) filed against those two companies in the Circuit Court for St. Louis County. The ruling, which was made on April 18, 2014, means the Keane Insurance Group, Inc. can proceed to trial on its damage claims against MPM, a medical malpractice insurance company, and its management company, Timothy H. Trout, LLC, based on theories of tortious interference with business expectancies, conversion, misappropriation of trade secrets, defamation, tampering with computer data, and conspiracy to breach contract.

Keane is one of the largest independent brokers of medical malpractice insurance in the country and had done business with MPM from 2003 until 2012 when Keane gave notice to MPM of its intention to terminate its contract as exclusive broker for MPM. Keane concluded to stop doing business with MPM after learning that MPM’s surplus had been transferred to a private stock company owned by Timothy H. Trout, MPM’s managing director, in a reinsurance deal. Keane’s lawsuit against MPM alleges that after Keane gave notice of its intent to terminate its relationship with MPM, MPM stole Keane’s confidential information and used it to solicit Keane’s book of business in violation of the common law and provisions of contracts between Trout, MPM, and Keane.

In denying MPM’s motion to dismiss the tortious interference claims, Judge Bresnahan wrote: “In this motion [MPM] argues that the relationship between the insurance agent [Keane] and the policyholders is not protected by the tort of interference with a business expectancy. The Court disagrees.” The ruling supports Keane’s position that it owns and controls its book of business and that MPM had no right to it.

Judge Bresnahan also ruled that Keane could not assert a claim against MPM for breach of contract because the document Keane signed with Trout and MPM includes language stating that the contract is between Keane and Trout and not between Keane and MPM. However, nearly all of the damages Keane seeks from MPM are based on the alleged tortious interference and not on breach of any particular provision of the written contract. The judge’s order does not affect Keane’s breach of contract claim against Trout.

Since 1995 the Keane Insurance Group has been providing creative and innovative insurance and risk management solutions to the healthcare community. With over 4,000 clients nationwide and access to all major insurance carriers, Keane is uniquely qualified to deliver the best service and coverage at the best rate for any situation.

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For more information about The Keane Insurance Group contact Monte Shields: mailto:monteshields@keanegroup.com, visit www.keanegroup.com, or call 800.966.7733.

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