Agency.com airs grievances with iCrossing via lawsuit

The New York-based digital ad firm said in a court complaint last Thursday that executive "raiding" on iCrossing's part forced it to close its Dallas office.

Digital ad firm Agency.com has sued rival iCrossing for poaching a number of high-level employees and clients, including former Agency.com CEO Charles Donald Scales, according to a complaint filed in a Texas state court last Thursday.

The complaint alleges "massive employee raiding, customer solicitation in violation of contractual and common law prohibitions against same, breach of the express terms of a settlement agreement...gross acts of disloyalty and breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of Agency.com's confidential information and trade secrets and other wrongs," and seeks at least $19.5 million in damages.

Neither company is headquartered in Texas. But the New York-based Agency.com, a subsidiary of ad giant Omnicom, says that iCrossing's executive poaching forced it to close its Dallas-based office, as well as heavily scale back its Chicago office.

Scales, according to the complaint, had non-competition clauses in his original contract with Agency.com that would've barred him from taking the executive job (first as chief operating officer and eventually CEO) with iCrossing. That led to a settlement agreement between the two firms, which Agency.com now alleges was ineffective because Scales proceeded to recruit numerous Agency.com employees to iCrossing. One of them, the complaint details, had started soliciting clients on behalf of iCrossing before he had actually started work there.

Neither party is willing to comment on the litigation.

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About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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