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The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

OneBeacon Moves to Dismiss ACE Job Poaching Lawsuit

October 2, 2012 - OneBeacon U.S. Holdings Inc. has petitioned for dismissal of a lawsuit filed against it by ACE American Insurance Co. on grounds that it does not satisfy minimal pleading standards with respect to an actionable claim.

The lawsuit by ACE grew out of an alleged mass defection on July 30 by all eight employees of the ACE Group unit’s East Coast surety office to fellow insurer OneBeacon. ACE filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia claiming tortious interference with its business, and aiding and abetting duty of loyalty violations.

OneBeacon, according to ACE American, “coordinated an employee raid to obtain and use ACE’s trade secrets.”

But in its motion to dismiss, Minnetonka, Minnesota-based OneBeacon said that the plaintiff failed to state any facts that would support its position that trade secrets were misappropriated by anyone.

In its suit, ACE American alleged that its staffers had deleted e-mails that that may have contained proprietary information relating to the plaintiff. OneBeacon challenged that as pure conjecture, and said the plaintiff made no connection between the deletion of emails and the acquisition of those messages by the defendant.

“Without more,” OneBeacon wrote, “ACE’s allegations are insufficient to raise a right of relief above the speculative level to meet federal notice pleading standards.”

As to any claim of tortious interference, OneBeacon likewise said that ACE American failed to allege with specificity the identity of any client or third-party contractual relationship that has been subject to actionable interference. Citing Pennsylvania law, it said ACE American had to show there was an existing or prospective contractual relationship with a third party and then show that there was intent by OneBeacon to interfere with that relationship.

OneBeacon further contended that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has never recognized a common law claim for aiding and abetting tortious conduct such as a breach of fiduciary duty of loyalty.

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