N.J. Appeals Court Upholds Aon Judgment

July 29, 2002

Aon Corporation has been ordered to pay $6.1 million to former New York Giants football player Phil McConkey after a New Jersey appeals court ruled that he lost a job he took at another insurance company after his potential boss lied abut whether the company was a target for takeover, according to the New York Times.

The original amount of $10 million awarded by a New Jersey state court jury in December of 1999 was reduced when the judge lowered the amount to $6.1 million. The appeals court upheld the reduced amount on July 23.

McConkey alleged he was approached by former chairman of Alexander & Alexander Services Inc. Frank Zarb to join their company as an insurance salesman. McConkey left his then-current job with a different insurance company to join Alexander & Alexander.

McConkey further alleged that Zarb, when asked, told McConkey that Alexander & Alexander was not for sale.

Later, Aon purchased the company and dismissed McConkey in efforts to shed costs.

The court ruled Zarb demonstrated “wanton and willful disregard” for McConkey by luring him to the company while Zarb was actively negotiating its sale.

It also said Zarb’s conduct was “sufficiently egregious” to justify $5 million in punitive damages as part of the award.

A spokesperson for Aon said that the ruling would have no impact on the company’s financials.

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