Broker issues writ in row over poaching of staff and clients by rival Carroll & Partners

Oamps is suing rival broker Carroll & Partners and former managing director Michael Eagles for more than £300,000 in a row over poaching of staff and clients.

Michael Eagles sold his brokerage, Fairmont Insurance Services Group, to Oamps for £750,000 in 2002, according to a High Court writ.
Fairmont specialised in motor sports and property, and Oamps bought it to gain a wider client base and give access to the London market through Oamps’ insurer contacts, the writ says.

As part of the deal, Eagles became managing director of Fairmont for two years, later extended to October 2011. Fairmont was renamed Oamps Special Risks.

According to the writ, Eagles had restrictive covenants in his contract to ensure he would not broke insurance for Oamps’ clients for two years after leaving and to stop him from luring Oamps staff away.

Oamps believed this might happen because of Eagles’ “significant profile in the industry causing clients to follow him”, even if he did not deliberately approach them, the writ says.

In January this year, Oamps made Eagles redundant, and he then joined Carroll & Partners. Oamps now claims it has lost several former Fairmont clients to Carroll & Partners since February 2012.

Eagles tried to persuade other Oamps staff to join him at Carroll & Partners, the court papers say.

Oamps UK and Oamps Special Risks are seeking a High Court injunction to stop Eagles’ alleged attempts to poach Oamps staff and stop him from arranging cover for Oamps clients.

“The claimants are concerned that unless restrained by court order the defendants will continue to act in breach of those restrictive covenants and that irreparable damage will be caused to the claimants’ business,” the writ says.

Eagles’ lawyers declined to comment, and their defence was not available at the time of publication. Oamps declined to comment.

Timeline: the road to lawsuit

1999: Fairmont Insurance Services Group founded by Michael Eagles

June 2002: Eagles enters talks with Oamps to sell

August 2002: Oamps buys Fairmont

January 2012: Eagles made redundant

February 2012: First client leaves Oamps for Carroll & Partners, the writ says

March 2012: Oamps starts legal action