Willis pursuing poaching litigation against Lockton, Alliant
Willis Towers Watson PLC is pursuing poaching litigation against Lockton Cos. LLC and Alliant Insurance Services Inc. in federal courts in Florida and North Carolina, respectively.
The case that Willis filed against the former head of its facultative reinsurance business for Central America and the Caribbean was transferred from state court to federal court in Miami on Sunday, according to court papers in Willis Towers Watson CAC v. Antonio Matta and Lockton Re LLC.
In the second case, Willis is seeking a temporary restraining order against Alliant, in connection with the departure of members of its Charlotte, North Carolina-based public entity and education practice, according to court papers filed in Asheville, North Carolina, in Willis Towers Watson Southeast Inc. v. Alliant Insurance Services Inc. et. al.
In the Florida case, Willis says Mr. Matta abruptly resigned from his position as Miami president and managing director of WTW CAC, which he was instrumental in creating, in November 2020 to join Lockton.
The lawsuit says he unlawfully took and used confidential Willis information and improperly solicited Willis clients. It charges him with breach of contract and duty of loyalty, tortious interference with contractual relations and, trade secret misappropriation, among other charges.
The North Carolina litigation, which was first filed Aug. 12 against Alliant and six individuals, states the defendants “conspired to orchestrate a mass resignation” of Willis’ southeast employees.
It states that on July 20, a large group of WTW’s southeast employees from around the country, including the individual defendants, resigned “in an orchestrated fashion.”
It said that while Willis was able to initially convince three of the defendants to rescind their resignation and return, “it was a short-lived solution” because they left for Alliant less than two weeks later, and used that period to solicit more Willis employees to depart for Alliant.
“Alliant’s coordinated raid on WTW SE’s Public entity and Education Practice is not an accident, but in fact Alliant’s modus operandi and business plan,” the complaint charges.
Among charges against the defendants, which include Mark A. Goode, formerly managing director of the practice, are breach of contract, tortious interference with contract and misappropriation of trade secrets.
On Aug. 12, Willis filed a motion for a temporary restraining and preliminary injunction in the case. Defendants filed a motion opposing the injunction the following day. The court has not yet issued a ruling on the motions.