West Virginia Record

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Agent claims Nationwide broke its promise for new business

By Chris Dickerson | Nov 29, 2005

CHARLESTON – A Charleston insurance agent miffed that new business promised to him was awarded to other agents, has filed a lawsuit against Nationwide Insurance in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Stephen T. Holbrook, who operates the Holbrook Insurance Agency on Charleston's West Side, claims Nationwide and individuals associated with the company failed to give him business that had been promised to him as other area Nationwide agents retired.

In the suit, filed by Stephen Farmer and Stacy Jacques of Farmer Cline & Campbell PLLC, Holbrook says he left his job as a certified public accountant for Arnett & Foster and became a Nationwide employee in May 1992. He started his agency in December 1994.

In 2001, when Paul Shannon announced his retirement as a Nationwide agent, Holbrook and consultant Jay Arn developed a plan for Holbrook to get Shannon's agency book of business. Holbrook completed the application process and fulfilled the terms of his agreement with Nationwide.

Still, Douglas Marquette – as a representative of Nationwide – awarded the business to C. Wayne Manning, a Huntington agent. In the suit, Holbrook says he was promised the next book of business with another agent retired.

In December 2003, the business book of Al Atkinson of the Atkinson agency became available. But Marquette again awarded it to Manning. The same thing happened in December 2004 when agent Bill Dingess retired.

Holbrook is suing Nationwide, Marquette and Manning for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment fraud, fraudulent inducement, constructive fraud, negligent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation, gross negligence and civil conspiracy

Holbrook is seeking compensatory and consequential damages to be determined by a jury including but not limited to damages for loss of past, present and future revenues, insurance commissions, business opportunities, wages, investment income and benefits; punitive damages to be determined; attorney's fees, costs and expenses; other relief deemed.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 05-C-2588

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