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Aon, Marsh trade accusations in poaching dispute

Aon, Marsh trade accusations in poaching dispute

Aon PLC and Marsh LLC are engaged in a bitter legal dispute the hiring of 44 former Aon employees, with the brokerage seeking a temporary restraining order against Marsh.

Aon charges in litigation initially filed in state court in Miami June 24 that Marsh recruited “ringleader” Michael Parrish, formerly managing director for its east region, his chief lieutenant, Robert Lynn, as well as key executives “through promises of lavish raises and financial reward, and induced them to organize a covert, mass resignation” despite “reasonable restrictive covenants,” according to court documents, Aon Risk Services Inc. of Florida et al. v. Marsha USA Inc. et. al.

The lawsuit charges that defendants conspired to solicit Aon clients and prospects across the brokerage’s commercial risk and health care industry sectors and to misappropriate valuable intellectual property, including proprietary and confidential information and trade secrets.

Marsh fired back Tuesday, pointing to the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit seeking to block Aon’s $30 billion proposed merger with Willis Towers Watson and describing the proposed merger as “stalled.”

Aon’s lawsuit “is a calculated act of desperation and a continuing effort to coerce its remaining employee.”

Assertions in the Aon suit that there is an “emergency” are false and the temporary restraining order should be denied, Marsh said.

Aon’s top producers and executives were frustrated and concerned about their future, the filing said.

“Rather than acknowledge its own failings, Aon seeks to flip the narrative from its poor management decisions and uncertain future, to blaming Marsh and its own former employees for Aon’s losses.”

A court filing Thursday said Aon and Marsh’s attorneys have failed to come to an agreement.

Aon said in a statement it “will not be commenting further beyond the filing.” Marsh did not immediately respond to a request for comment.