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GroupM makes legal claim against Ebiquity’s media audit unit FirmDecisions30.06.2016
GroupM has launched a legal claim against Ebiquity division FirmDecision over its handling of documents mistakenly sent by the WPP group’s agencies.
The claim, first reported by Campaign, has been filed to London’s High Court over what is described as “wholly inadequate” assurances from FirmDecisions that it has destroyed the various confidential documents it received.
FirmDecisions, Ebiquity’s media auditing division, is accused of breaking a non-disclosure agreement with GroupM and its agencies MediaCom, Mindshare, Maxus and MEC, in respect to its handling of the information in those documents.
According to the claim – made public by Business Insider – FirmDecisions CEO Stephen Broderick told GroupM’s global commercial director Scott Smith in an email of “four or five instances this year where your agencies have sent us confidential information for other clients by mistake”. This includes “media differences”, which may refer to the differing price of media.
GroupM’s legal team sought “full details” of the instances in which documents had been mistakenly shared, and confirmation from FirmDecisions that it had deleted the information – requests to which it claims it initially received no response.
The agency group is now seeking damages, accusing FirmDecisions seeking to make use of the confidential documents “for its own purposes” and to share with third parties, as well as injunction against FirmDecisions over the misuse of the information.
FirmDecisions has subsequently filed a defence, insisting it has a “cooperative working relationship” with GroupM, and has previously helped to settle difficulties, including the “MediaCom Australia incident” when an employee mistakenly shared an invoice listing monthly billings to each of the agency’s clients.
Ebiquity said in a statement to M&M Global: “GroupM has brought a claim alleging breach of non-disclosure obligations by FirmDecisions. Whilst FirmDecisions will not comment on ongoing proceedings, FirmDecisions strongly denies any wrongdoing, and is robustly defending the claim.”
The legal claim comes as Ebiquity gets ready to release a series of recommendations for clients in relation to the ANA’s report on media rebates, and is expected to urge advertisers to re-evaluate agency contracts.