The courtroom battle between two broking giants has finally reached its conclusion.
A High Court judge has dismissed the lawsuit of prominent broker Arthur J. Gallagher and its subsidiary Alesco against The Ardonagh Group for allegedly poaching senior employees and business contracts.
Judge Clive Freedman, who likened the lawsuit to the intensity of a football rivalry, also ordered Gallagher to pay £3.1 million towards the legal fees of defendant Ardonagh.
Gallagher sued Ardonagh after former employees Nawaf Hasan and Peter Burton – both division heads at Alesco – resigned to join Ardonagh units in 2018. The two men alleged that Gallagher, in the weeks following their resignation, subjected them to abusive messages – with one of the men allegedly described by a Gallagher executive as a “complicated fat Arab.”
“For so long as someone plays for the team, that person may be appreciated, and on a good day put on a pedestal,” Freedman said in his judgement. “But if that same person leaves the team, and especially to join a rival team, then being vilified and demeaned follows.”
John Tiner, chairman of Ardonagh, said that the judgement supported “the position taken by our board all along.”
“It is unfortunate that we have had to defend these misconceived claims in public,” he said. “At a challenging time for the UK insurance industry, this case has imposed an unnecessary burden on public resources and tarnished the industry’s reputation through the revelations of the abusive and racist language used by the claimants.
“We emerge from the case stronger and more determined than ever to succeed as the UK’s leading independent insurance broking organisation. Today’s definitive judgment brings an end our involvement in the matter. I very much hope that the behaviour exhibited in this case is not reflective of our industry here in the UK and that, as the world’s leading international insurance market we can continue to excel on the basis of professionalism, reliability, innovation and respect.”