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Marsh can't sue ex-U.K. execs in New York: Court


LONDON--The U.K. Court of Appeal has rejected Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc.'s bid to sue in New York three London-based former executives of its reinsurance brokerage operation who left the company to form a London-based unit of Integro Ltd.

The case involves Julian Samengo-Turner, Ron Whyte and Marcus Hopkins, who formerly led Guy Carpenter & Co. L.L.C.'s GCFac Worldwide unit and who left that company in April to form an international insurance and reinsurance unit for Integro.

New York-based MMC, the parent of Guy Carpenter, sued the individuals in New York, charging violations of nonsolicitation provisions of an incentive award program. MMC sought a New York jurisdiction because even though the former executives had U.K. employment contracts with Marsh (Services) Ltd. in London, their bonus plan was based in New York and controlled by MMC, according to court papers.

The three former Guy Carpenter executives then sought to restrain the complaint against them in New York. On Thursday, the Court of Appeal ruled that under European Union law, employees can be sued by employers only in their home state.

"Those employed to work in the (MMC) group in London who are domiciled here are entitled to be sued only in the English courts and to be protected if that right is not respected," the court said.

In a statement, Kate Payne, a partner at Elborne Mitchell who represents the three individuals, said: "The case has important ramifications for the big international insurance broking groups and financial institutions based in the United States with London operations."

A spokesperson for Guy Carpenter could not be immediately reached.