N.Y. Court Grants Injunction in Aon, Alliant Employee Poaching Case

September 24, 2012

A New York court last week granted a new injunction in the ongoing legal fight between Aon and Alliant Insurance Services over alleged poaching of senior executives.

The Supreme Court of the State of New York enjoined Peter Arkley — former CEO of the Aon Construction Services Group who is now working at Alliant — from soliciting or doing business with Aon clients he produced or on whose account he worked in the 24 months prior to June 13, 2011. The former Aon executive is also restrained from soliciting any Aon Construction Services Group employees to work for Alliant.

The only exception is as to servicing clients who moved their business to Alliant before the injunction was issued. The New York court has held this injunction is appropriate notwithstanding Alliant’s pursuit of litigation in California.

Aon alleges that several of its former executives who now work for Alliant had conspired with their new employer to poach dozens of additional Aon employees and clients. Aon argues such a move violates employment covenants and the non-compete agreement. Aon sued Alliant last year.

Alliant has maintained that the New York case should be dismissed in favor of litigation in California. Last year, Alliant and Peter Arkley, Ken Caldwell and Michael Parizino — former Aon executives now with Alliant’s Construction Services Group — challenged in California the enforceability of Aon’s restrictive covenants.

Court proceedings in California are turning out to be more favorable for Alliant. Last June, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California rejected the non-compete provisions in Aon Risk Services Northeast’s employment agreements with its former executives. The California court found these covenants not to compete void and unenforceable under California law. The court further found that Aon’s use of these restrictive covenants constituted an unfair business practice under California’s unfair competition law.

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