Three of the INVESCO global partners who resigned earlier this week to join Deutsche Asset Management have filed a lawsuit against INVESCO seeking declaratory and injunctive relief and damages, according to the complaint, which was filed this morning in Jefferson County Circuit Court, Louisville, Ky.
The three Stephen Johnson, fixed-income CIO; Kenneth Bowling, portfolio manager and director of fixed income; and James Guenther, director of global credit research are contractually bound to stay with INVESCO for 12 months after they announce their intentions to resign. The trio issued their resignation letters Monday, and the suit requests that the court declare the agreements invalid, calling them a restrictive covenant that is unreasonable in breadth and scope.
The suit also seeks damages from INVESCO for breach of contract, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, and fraud. It alleges that INVESCO breached its employment agreement with the three investment professionals by refusing to allow them to enter the workplace and by engaging in numerous improper and malicious activities that prevented Messrs. Johnson, Bowling and Guenther from working and serving clients.
John Sheller, an attorney from Smith & Smith who is representing the three men, said the 12-month notice agreement is legally invalid and they want the court to declare it unenforceable. Its essentially a disguised non-compete agreement that was misrepresented at the time it was signed, said Mr. Sheller. He added that barring the three employees from the workplace keeps them from performing their jobs, which is also required by the agreement.
Doug Kidd, spokesman for INVESCO, said the three men were placed on administrative leave Tuesday and that the lawsuit is in response to those developments.
He also added that a fourth INVESCO employee who resigned Monday to join DeAM, Randy Paas, director of marketing, was terminated on Tuesday and INVESCO filed suit against him last night. Further details on that suit were not immediately available.