Rogue sales representatives who last year walked away from Properties of The Villages to form their own real estate venture have stepped up their court battle by hiring a new legal eagle.
Former top producers for The Villages Chris Day and Jason Kranz, founders of KD Premier Realty, and their associates won a crucial legal round earlier this month when U.S. Magistrate Judge Philip Lammens recommended that Properties of The Villages’ motion for a preliminary injunction be denied. If The Villages had won the preliminary injunction, KD Premier Realty could have been shut down.
Properties of The Villages is fighting to enforce a 24-month non-compete clause and claims the rogue agents benefitted from confidential information and “customer goodwill” built up by The Villages. Day, Kranz and other former Properties of The Villages “independent contractors” have maintained they were treated more like employees, forced to ride the trolley, memorize and never deviate from tightly-written scripts and act as “Uber and skycap” for prospective homebuyers.
Last week, the breakaway agents switched their legal representation from Dock Blanchard of Blanchard, Merriam, Adel and Kirkland PA of Ocala, to Jonathan Pollard of Pollard PLLC of Fort Lauderdale. Pollard’s practice is focused on competition law and he has “extensive experience litigating both sides of complex non-compete and trade secret matters,” according to his professional biography.
In a recent interview with Law.com, Pollard said, Florida is “ground zero” for noncompete abuse.
“Florida has normalized rampant noncompete abuse as a standard business practice. That is a massive problem. Companies in Florida are using noncompete agreements to eliminate ordinary competition, restrict employee mobility and suppress wages. That is point blank illegal and violates antitrust law,” Pollard said in the interview.
In court documents, Day and Kranz have indicated they had not signed updated independent contractor agreements with The Villages and their previous agreements had “expired” at the time of their departure this past December.