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
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
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.