Gilman v. Marsh & McLennan Cos., No. 15-0603 (2d Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
In 2004, an AG investigation focused on an alleged bid‐rigging scheme involving Marsh and several insurance carriers. Marsh's counsel asked two employees, William Gilman and Edward McNenney, Jr., to sit for interviews, but neither employee complied with the request. The employees subsequently filed suit against Marsh after the company fired them "for cause," and denied them unvested, deferred compensation as well as severance. The district court granted summary judgment for Marsh. The court concluded that the interview demands were reasonable as a matter of law because at the time they were made, the employees were Marsh employees who had been implicated in an alleged criminal conspiracy for acts that were within the scope of employment and that imperiled the company. The court also concluded that there are no triable issues of facts as to whether Marsh fired the employees for cause. The court rejected the employees' argument that they were let go routinely as part of a reduction in force and the argument that Gilman could not be fired because he had preemptively resigned. Finally, the court rejected the employees' contention that, in light of Marsh’s cooperation with the AG, Marsh’s requirement that they answer potentially incriminating questions amounted to state action, and was thus unreasonable. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment because Marsh had cause to fire the employees and they were not entitled to the employment benefits at issue.