By DAN REYNOLDS, senior editor of Risk & Insurance®
Both Newport Beach-based Alliant Insurance Services and Chicago-based Aon Risk Services see vindication in a June 17 ruling by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Peter Flynn.
The three construction insurance brokering veterans from Aon who jumped to Alliant have been ordered to return trade secrets and confidential information, but will be allowed to continue to do business with clients they originally brought as accounts to their former employer, a judge has ruled.
Alliant may "accept any and all client business that it deems appropriate, regardless of the clients' current or former association with Aon," said an Alliant spokesperson, via an email sent to Risk & Insurance®.
Alliant can "continue to accept unsolicited employment applications from Aon construction group employees and can continue to solicit and accept any other Aon employee," the statement also said.
David Prosperi, a spokesman for Aon, said, "We are pleased with the ruling and look forward to presenting our case for a permanent injunction in an upcoming hearing yet to be scheduled."
The dispute began when veteran brokers Peter Arkley, Ken Caldwell and Michael Parizino left Aon's construction practice to join Alliant. Since mid-June, more than 40 former Aon employees have joined the three at Alliant, according to court documents.
Aon filed suit on June 15, citing breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets. It is seeking damages from Alliant and is requesting a two-year injunction against Arkley, Caldwell and Parizino from competing against Aon's construction business.
The three former Aon executives have sought the dismissal of the complaint and thus by the judge's admission, aren't bound by the June 17 order.
Judge Flynn ruled that Alliant, Arkley, Caldwell and Parizino can continue to accept business from any Aon client that they did not solicit and which the three executives brought to Aon in the first place.
Arkley abruptly resigned from Aon Risk Services on June 13, and other senior executives, including Parizino and Caldwell, soon followed suit.
Hours later, according to the complaint, Alliant announced the arrival of the new executives and the formation of a "newly created" construction services group.
Arkley had worked at Aon since 1998, according to court filings. Parizino, based in Irvine, Calif., was an 11-year Aon veteran who came to the company from Willis Corroon. Caldwell, an expert in owner-controlled insurance programs (OCIP), headed the U.S. and global project practice at Aon's construction services group, which counted Walt Disney Co. and Los Angeles World Airports as clients.
Aon alleges that the three former employees violated the terms of their employment contracts by conspiring with Alliant in using internal Aon compensation information to lure 40 of their workmates to Alliant.
June 28, 2011
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