Sues iCrossing

NEW YORK has filed a lawsuit against iCrossing, its CEO and nine other employees over what it characterizes as illegal client and employee poaching.
The lawsuit alleges that iCrossing CEO Don Scales, who exited as’s CEO in February 2006, violated terms of his separation agreement by taking an executive post at iCrossing a month later and proceeding to woo employees and clients. The actions, according to the complaint filed in state court in Dallas on Nov. 5, led to the closing of the Dallas office and “decimated” its Chicago outpost.
The complaint asks for $19.5 million in damages. An agency representative said it just received the complaint Friday and is reviewing it. (Download the complaint.)
Omnicom Group’s and Scales have been at loggerheads following his ouster from in February 2006. Over a dozen former employees eventually followed Scales to iCrossing, an independent digital agency looking to grow beyond its roots in search marketing. In that time, has suffered declining fortunes, including client losses and the abrupt departure of Scales’ successor, David Eastman, who was replaced by founder Chan Suh in April 2007.
A month after Scales joined iCrossing, eight executives followed him to the firm. In July, the two agencies reached a settlement that made some employees off-limits to iCrossing until January 2008. ICrossing went on to hire several more staffers, according to the suit.
The lawsuit alleges that some employees recruited by Scales to iCrossing recruited clients before leaving the firm. It alleges former vp of business development Marlin Jackson helped iCrossing obtain projects from Marriott while still employed by alleges the actions were a “scheme devised by Scales and iCrossing to intentionally and systematically strip of some of its best employees and to steal the company’s customers.”