Yates Accepts Out of Court Settlement in Suit Against Chaix

Jim Yates, president of Santa Ana-based Yates & Associates Insurance Services, has agreed to accept an out of court settlement in the lawsuit against Newport Beach-based R.E. Chaix & Associates Insurance Services. The amount and terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

On March 16, 2000, Yates & Associates filed a suit in Orange County Superior Court against R.E. Chaix & Associates, George Michael Ravelo and Colleen Hippard, and less than one week later (March 20), the court granted Yates a temporary restraining order against R.E. Chaix & Associates.

The TRO came after Ravelo and Hippard resigned from Yates & Associates and relocated to R.E. Chaix & Associates. The issue in question was the ability of a former employee to protect goodwill and brand recognition when an employee chooses to leave. The order prohibited employees of Chaix from initiating business with any of the roughly 400 agents who have done business with Yates’ professional liability division in the past 12 months.

On June 14, the court lifted the TRO. “All we’re trying to do is to establish what is ethically, morally and legally right to do,” Yates told Insurance Journal during an interview in March. Satisfied with the settlement, Yates said that he hopes that this will establish some type of precedent, or at least clarify right from wrong in today’s business environment. Both firms are managing general agencies.