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Council meeting

Janet Solberg

MASON CITY | A civil lawsuit involving a former city councilwoman and an insurance company with an office in Mason City appears to be headed to trial in September. 

Janet Solberg, who represented the Fourth Ward in Mason City from 2009-17, allegedly violated her non-competition agreement with Corcoran and Associates, Inc., an insurance company with locations in Mason City and Des Moines. 

In the non-criminal lawsuit, Corcoran stated Solberg worked for them August 2005 to October 2015. They then entered into the non-competition agreement, which stated Solberg would not cause any clients of Corcoran to switch insurance providers or sell insurance for other providers for a period of 18 months after her separation date of Oct. 8, 2015.

According to court documents, however, Solberg then started working for Town and Country — another insurance company with offices in Osage and Nora Springs — around Nov. 5, 2015, and allegedly violated non-competition with former or current Corcoran customers.

"Solberg has solicited Corcoran clients while at City Hall, handing out her business cards, giving directions to her new office and telling the Corcoran clients she can get them a 'better deal' on their insurance than they have through Corcoran," the lawsuit stated. 

Randy Nielsen, the attorney representing Solberg, declined to comment on the lawsuit Tuesday.

Bridget Penick, the lead attorney for Corcoran, could not be reached for comment via a phone call or email Tuesday morning.

The trial is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Sept. 10. 

Additional documents filed with the lawsuit include parts of depositions of Solberg and Mick Corcoran, founder of Corcoran and Associates.

The depositions occurred in Osage at Walk and Murphy, PLC in March 2018. 

Corcoran testified during his deposition that Solberg had sued his insurance agency for discrimination, and that her colleagues found it difficult to work with her.

"She just -- we had a very difficult time having people work in that office with her because they were afraid that they would do something to cause a lawsuit," he testified.

Solberg argued in her deposition she was an asset to Corcoran and his company.

"You know, I mean, when you don't see a boss for five years or three years, you know, they have no idea what you're doing," she testified. "They just -- you know, I'm taking care of business, and I was very good at taking care of business. I was very competent, you know."

Contact Steve at 641-421-0527 or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.



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