The U.S. office of the London-based holding company slapped Interpublic Group of Cos. with a suit accusing its rival of violating an agreement not to hire senior-level executives from WPP agencies J. Walter Thompson USA and Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide.
The unusual suit, filed Oct. 21 in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, asks for about $2 million in damages for breach of contract and conspiracy.
The holding companies struck the agreement a year ago during negotiations for Interpublic's purchase of Scali, McCabe, Sloves from WPP. At the time, Mr. Sorrell was rankled about Interpublic's poaching of two executives from JWT for McCann-Erickson Worldwide. Mr. Sorrell filed suit after JWT Chicago Executive Creative Director Nina DiSesa said this month she will join McCann.
Interpublic said the suit is without merit.
Mr. Sorrell has sued before. In 1988, he and a breakaway group of executives from Lord, Geller, Federico, Einstein exchanged stinging suits after several top people defected to form Lord, Einstein, O'Neill & Partners.
In June, WPP filed suit against its Former North American treasurer, alleging James Treacy used information about a criminal investigation at Thompson Recruitment Advertising, Los Angeles, to lure employees away.