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Aon poaching suit against Alliant Insurance Services can go forward: Judge

Aon poaching suit against Alliant Insurance Services can go forward: Judge

NEW YORK—A judge has rejected a bid by Alliant Insurance Services Inc. to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it by Aon P.L.C. over the alleged poaching of employees and customers.

In a ruling issued last week, Judge Bernard J. Fried of the Supreme Court of the State of New York said Aon's suit against Newport Beach, Calif.-based Alliant can move forward. In a lawsuit filed last year, Aon alleged that several of its former executives conspired with Alliant to solicit at least 40 other employees of Aon's construction services group to quit Aon and join Alliant.

In his opinion, Judge Fried said a lawsuit filed in California by former Aon employees Peter Arkley was a “tactical first strike” intended to shift the legal battle to California, where employment covenants have lesser legal standing.

Arkley's June 13, 2011, California lawsuit was not only a “preemptive strike” of the lawsuit that Arkley knew Aon would file, but was also a “critical component of the raid Arkley and Alliant had been planning for months,” the ruling states.

The ruling is the latest in the legal tug of war between the two insurance brokers.

Last month, Judge Dale Fischer of the United States District Court for the Central District of California struck down the noncompete provisions in Aon's employment agreements with Mr. Arkley and fellow former Aon employees Ken Caldwell and Michael Parizin.

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