Surety wars: Ace sues to block hiring 'conspiracy': Update

(Adds comment from defendant OneBeacon) Minnesota-based OneBeacon Insurance Co. said last week it had hired Philadelphia-based Chad Anderson, past head of rival Ace Ltd.'s commercial-surety insurance group, to head its own new surety business, which insures corporations against specialized risks.

But were they free to go? Last month, Ace filed this lawsuit (posted at asked the federal court in Philadelphia to block the move, and demands cash damages "in excess of $75,000."

Excerpt: "OneBeacon conspired with eight Ace employees to steal Ace trade secrets while they were still employed by Ace and deliver them to One Beacon upon their coordinated resignations from Ace," they destroyed emails "to cover up their wrongdoing."

Ace, represented by lawyer Daniel P. O'Meara and colleagues at Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads, Philadelphia, says the employees took proprietary customer material and that Anderson failed to inform his Ace bosses that he planned to leave, both in violation of Pennsylvania law, which requires a "duty of loyalty" to one's employer.

Ace's suit is "being vigorously defended. We are confident that ultimately the courts will find in our favor for the simple reason that OneBeacon and its new employees have not done anything wrong," says OneBeacon spokeswoman Carmen Duarte.