Sloves to Court: Make IPG Pay Up

Contending that
The Interpublic Group is dragging its feet, former Lowe & Partners/ SMS co-chairman Marvin Sloves has petitioned the court to make IPG pay the $1.3 million he was awarded by an arbitration panel Jan. 31.
Sloves’ attorney Moses Silverman last week filed a motion in state Supreme Court here to confirm the American Arbitration Association’s decision and order IPG to pay up.
The $1.3 million owed to Sloves reflects his salary and benefits per a two-year consultancy contract, as well as administrative costs related to the proceeding. The panel is still considering Sloves’ claim that IPG should pay his legal bills–amounting to $760,000–but it denied a claim for a $300,000 bonus he sought for 1998.
In the contract dispute, IPG claimed Sloves “tortiously interfered” with Lowe’s relationship
with Mercedes-Benz, causing it to move its $125 million account.
The three-man panel said IPG’s case was “circumstantial,” “unpersuasive,” and “flatly and credibly contradicted by the testimony” of Sloves and Mike Jackson, former CEO of Mercedes. [Adweek, Feb. 14].
IPG will likely contest the findings and the award, sources said. Arbitration decisions, although
binding, can be appealed at the federal-court level–albeit on narrow grounds, said Silverman and IPG general counsel Nick Camera.
A parallel lawsuit remains before Justice Franklin Weissberg in state Supreme Court, with a status conference scheduled for Feb. 29. The state suit, although similar, involves somewhat different issues and therefore should not be affected by the arbitration decision, Camera said.
Silverman disagreed. “The decision of the arbitrators resolves all outstanding claims,” he said, adding that Sloves intends to make a motion to dismiss the suit.–Andrew McMain