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Aon granted partial injunction in trade secrets suit

Posted On: Sep. 17, 2021 2:12 PM CST

trade secrets

A federal district court in Chicago has agreed to grant Aon PLC a partial injunction in litigation it filed last year that accuses five former employees who joined a rival firm with trade secrets misappropriation, among other charges.

The former employees who had worked in Aon’s equity services division, joined San Francisco-based Infinite Equity Inc., a professional services company, in June 2019, according to court papers in Aon PLC and Aon Group Inc. v. Infinite Equity, Inc.; Terry Adamson; Jon Burg, Daniel Coleman, Elizabeth Stoudt and Tyler Evans.

A magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court in Chicago granted Aon’s motion for preliminary injunction Wednesday as to the broker’s misappropriation of trade secrets claims relating to Aon’s valuation models and confidential client information recognized as trade secrets, but denied its motion as to the remainder of Aon’s claims.

On the valuation models, the ruling said the evidence “demonstrates a strong showing that the valuation models are trade secrets, and Defendants’ arguments to the contrary are unconvincing.”

Aon “has shown a reasonable likelihood of success in demonstrating” Aon’s valuation models were acquired by “improper means,” the ruling said.

The ruling said also that the “Defendants use of Aon’s confidential client information on numerous occasions to target or convert Aon clients for Infinite leads the  Court to conclude (1) Aon has shown that it is likely to succeed on its claims that Defendants misappropriated its trade secret client information and (2) there is a threat of inevitable use or disclosure of further Aon trade secret client information without preventative action.”

The highly detailed opinion ruled against Aon on other issues. On its breach of fiduciary duty claim, for instance, the ruling states, “Because Aon has not shown that Defendants began actually competing with Aon while still employed, Aon has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits with respect to this aspect of its breach of fiduciary claims.”

Litigation that Infinite Equity filed against Aon in California state court in San Francisco in February 2020, in Infinite Equity Inc., et al., v. Aon PLC, on charges including unfair and fraudulent business acts and practices is ongoing.

Attorneys in the case did not respond to requests for comment.