Bukaty Cos. sues former employee, claims his competing business stole clients – Kansas City Business Journal – The Business Journals

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Leawood-based Bukaty Cos. planned to sell its business in Columbia to a former employee but ended up in a legal battle instead, claiming the employee stole client information and set up a competing business.
Bukaty filed a lawsuit against Columbia-based Legacy Advisors LLC on Aug. 16 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, claiming tortious interference with contract, business relationships and business expectancy, plus violation of the Missouri Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Bukaty is the area’s fifth-largest independent insurance agency, with $727 million of local premium volume in 2021.
Legacy Advisors CEO Dustin Bly said the lawsuit’s material allegations are false.
Bukaty hired Bly in 2012 as a benefits consultant for its Columbia office. The lawsuit says Bukaty eventually entered into discussions with Bly to buy the office and its book of business, even starting to negotiate a purchase price.
However, in late 2019 or early 2020, Bukaty claims that Bly started planning to found Legacy Advisors with Aaron Everly and steal Bukaty’s employee benefit clients and business in Columbia. Bukaty claims that Bly and Everly met in April 2020 and discussed a plan to take away five Bukaty clients with about 500 employees and move them to Legacy Advisors.
Legacy Advisors registered with the Missouri Secretary of State on July 11, 2020. Bukaty claims that on July 22, Legacy Advisors used Bukaty’s license to log into a customer data system. The lawsuit says Legacy Advisors created new accounts for five of Bukaty’s clients and disabled Bukaty’s communication function for the clients and their employees. Bly resigned from Bukaty nine days later.
Bukaty claims that Bly violated his employment contract and that Legacy Advisors intentionally interfered with the contract by involving Bly in a scheme to steal clients. Bukaty seeks actual and punitive damages, attorney fees and court costs.
Joel Henry Driskell and Julie Parisi of Kansas City-based Seigfreid Bingham PC represent Bukaty.
Legacy Advisors hasn’t officially responded to the lawsuit.
“There is currently a lawsuit pending in the Boone County Circuit Court relating to the same matter,” Bly said in an interview. “In that matter, a partial summary judgment has been entered in my favor, and we expect a favorable result on the remaining claims, which will also resolve the federal court action.”
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