AgencySpy has learned that Agency.com has filed $19.5 million lawsuit against competitor iCrossing for allegedly poaching staff and clients from his former employer.
We obtained the petition submitted to Dallas District Court on Nov. 5th by Agency.com’s lawyer Jacqeline C. Johnson, which outlines the situation from Agency.com’s point of view.
Named as a principal in the suit is iCrossing CEO Charles Scales, former Agency.com president and CEO. Agency.com alleges that after leaving the company in 2006, Scales teamed up with iCrossing prior to the end of their 180 day agreement (during which time Scales was paid by Agency.com and expected to remain “loyal” and keep his “promise” to the company). Translation: non-compete, non-disclosure, non-solicatation contracts existed, but Scales may have breached them.
The suit claims Scales actively sought Agency.com staff and clientele; actions that they believe lead to the closing of Agency.com’s Dallas office in 2007, and “decimated” the Chicago office.
Click continued to read on.
In January of this year, SuperSpy wrote: “Despite some recent awards and the win of the LG account, Agency.com is barely keeping afloat. The shop closed its Dallas office last month due to a lack of business and former Agency.com CEO Don Scales, now iCrossingâ€™s president, is busy poaching their top talent. Chan Suh is back in the driverâ€™s seat, but can he save his agency?”
Even then, the jig was up, so to speak. But didn’t Agency.com do anything to stop the madness?
An excerpt from the petition states that “After numerous written demands to cease and desist such conduct were met with rebukes and scornful replies, Agency.com pursued depositions of Donald Scales and Marlin Jackson (svp business development) pursuant to Rule 202 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. Jackson was a Vice President of Business Development for Agency, but left the Company to become a Vice President of Business Development for iCrossing. iCrossing, Scales and Jackson bitterly opposed these depositions.”
In all, the petition states that nine Agency.com employees, not including Scales, were lost to iCrossing. They are SVP Biz-dev Marlin Jackson, COO Dave Johnson, Lori Wilson, Karen Pate, Kent Milton, Colin Tumey, John Doyle, Amanda McElroy, and Carolyn Frazier.
Dave Johnson’s situation is not unlike the other 8 named defendants. When he left Agency.com for iCrossing in June 2007, he was head of the Chicago office and President of North America. Attached to that contract was a two-year non-solicit agreement. According to the petition, his contract prohibits him from “the solicitation of customers and employees” until June 16, 2009. Per iCrossing’s Web site, “As chief operating officer, Dave Johnson is responsible for iCrossing operations worldwide.” It’s up to Agency.com to prove that he broke that agreement by taking clients and staff.
AgencySpy attempted to reach iCrossing for comment, but the agency declined to answer the phone. We’ll have more on this as it happens.