Interpublic faces new writ from ex-freelance

Interpublic Group has been plunged into a fresh round of legal action over activities at its former CM Lintas subsidiary - less than two years after paying out more than pounds 1 million to stop a potentially explosive High Court case.

Interpublic Group has been plunged into a fresh round of legal

action over activities at its former CM Lintas subsidiary - less than

two years after paying out more than pounds 1 million to stop a

potentially explosive High Court case.



Steve O’Donovan, a one-time freelance account director contracted by the

agency in the late 80s, is suing for damages over alleged malicious

falsehoods and for breaches of his employment contract.



His action echoes an earlier suit for punitive damages by Hugh Salmon,

the former CM Lintas managing director, against the agency, its

chairman, Chris Munds, and Lintas Worldwide, the CM Lintas parent.

Salmon was paid an estimated pounds 500,000 in settlement of his

malicious falsehood claim.



O’Donovan, 43, who is represented by Salmon’s legal advisers and was to

have been a witness on his behalf, was under contract to CM Lintas - now

part of Ammirati Puris Lintas - between January 1988 and October

1989.



His High Court writ claims damages following what he alleges were

malicious falsehoods published by Munds between April 1988 and 1995. He

accuses Munds and the agency of negligence and failing to take

reasonable care in providing accurate references on his behalf when

asked.



He is also asking for damages for personal injury, damage to his mental

and physical health, injury to feelings and loss of earnings resulting

from breaches of his employment contract by Munds and the agency.



William Eccleshare, the APL chairman, said: ’We have not found any

evidence to support O’Donovan’s claims and the company is preparing a

response to the matter.’



O’Donovan, a one-time Ted Bates graduate trainee whose career included

spells at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and WCRS, has not been in full-time

work since abandoning his advertising career nine years ago. He has

lived in Cork, in the Irish Republic, since 1994.



Salmon, now managing director of Summerfield Wilmot Keene, reached a

settlement with IPG in April last year, just four days before the

scheduled start of his court hearing.



He alleged that Munds had engineered his dismissal because he feared

being exposed by Salmon as having been involved in practices that

entailed booking economy-class air tickets and invoicing either CM

Lintas or the relevant client for the business fare.



Lintas later apologised to Salmon over the affair which is believed to

have cost IPG pounds 1.3 million in settlement costs and lawyers’ fees.



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