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 RMJM legal battle intensifies

RMJM’s group commercial director Declan Thompson has been accused of ‘unlawful retaliation’ for threatening to countersue ex-employees who refused to settle over money owed to them

The allegation is the latest to be added to a burgeoning class action lawsuit brought by former staff from the company’s New York office in which the AJ100 big hitter is accused of ‘numerous unlawful employment practices’.

According to amended papers seen by the AJ, it is claimed Thompson ‘threatened to bring an action against certain former employees if their individual claims were not settled at amounts unilaterally determined by the defendants.’

The revised complaint, which was lodged at the US District Court Southern District of New York last week (8 February 2013), adds: ‘These threats, and any anticipated action ultimately brought, constitute unlawful retaliation.’

A further four former staff members have now also joined the action – bringing the total of plaintiffs up to 16 - which has been made against the practice’s various subsiduaries, Thompson, RMJM chairman Fraser Morrison, chief executive Peter Morrison and commercial director Richard Bailes.

The claims cover the ‘unlawful failure to pay minimum wage… unlawful wage deductions’ and the ‘fraudulent concealment’ of the cancellation of the group term life insurance policy as well as ‘unjust enrichment’ and ERIAS violations - breaches of the federal law which sets minimum standards for pension plans for private companies in the US.

RMJM refused to comment on the court proceedings.

The plaintiffs are represented by David E Gottlieb at the New York-based firm Thompson Wigdor.

The four additional plaintiffs are: Derrin Hawkins, Vladimir Kvint, Brian Meneghin, Belinda Park.

Previous story (AJ 08.01.2013)

Eleven more join class action against RMJM as litigation snowballs

Another eleven former RMJM staff have joined a class action lawsuit against the struggling practice

New court papers seen by the AJ (see attached) show that five new causes of action have also been added to the initial complaint, made by ex-senior HR manager Dana Byrne last November (AJ 15.11 2012), which alleges ‘numerous unlawful employment practices’ by the AJ100 big hitter.

RMJM chairman Fraser Morrison has now been named among the defendants, alongside chief executive Peter Morrison, commercial directors Declan Thompson and Richard Bailes, in the amended action lodged at the US District Court Southern District of New York last week (4 January 2013).

As well as the original claims covering the ‘unlawful failure to pay minimum wage… unlawful wage deductions’ and the ‘fraudulent concealment’ of the cancellation of the group term life insurance policy (see below), the new papers also cite ‘unjust enrichment’ and ERIAS violations - breaches of the federal law which sets minimum standards for pension plans for private companies in the US.

The new plaintiffs are Gale LaCava, John Conroy, Paul Cresti, Annette Ilagan, Roger Klein, Kevin McCausland, Steve Mylenski, Jamie Palazzolo, Sean Roche, Sal Tomasiello and Brian Wong who all worked at RMJM’s New York office at 275 Seventh Avenue.

Meanwhile it is understood creditors of RMJM Ltd, RMJM London Ltd and RMJM Scotland Ltd, which went into administration last October (see AJ 26.10.2012) will not get any of their money back. The dissolved companies were acquired by the new RMJM European Division.

RMJM refused to comment on the court proceedings.

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