A U.S. district court judge has denied a motion from Interpublic Group and McCann to dismiss a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by former McCann Health chief creative officer Jeremy Perrott.  

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss in mid-December on the grounds that Perrott failed to state a claim. The holding company and its creative agency also filed a motion to transfer the case to New York’s Southern District Court and to stay discovery, or halt the evidence-gathering process.

Perrott is suing his former employer for more than $25 million. He was fired by McCann Health in June 2018 after complaints about his behavior from female employees. Perrott denied the claims and accused the company of defamation, tortious interference with contract, common law conspiracy, and gross negligence.

In their memorandum to the motion to dismiss, McCann and IPG argued that the company “acted appropriately to address the situation, and to protect its employees in the face of [Perrott’s] behavior.”

The memorandum also stated that Perrott was advised about seven complaints about his behavior before he was fired. McCann and IPG also argued that the lawsuit was the result of his “personal vendetta” against the company and employees.

The companies also said that the lawsuit was filed in the wrong jurisdiction because no parties live or do business in the state. The judge ordered that the case will proceed in the Eastern District of Virginia, but said the defendants could refile separate motions to dismiss.

Maura Wogan, an attorney representing IPG and McCann, said the motion was dismissed not on substantive grounds, but on the way it was filed. She said they plan to refile the motion to dismiss on Monday.

The attorney representing Perrott did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This week, McCann Health named Matt Eastwood, most recently worldwide chief creative officer at J. Walter Thompson, as its global chief creative officer. In a statement announcing the hire, Rob Reilly, global creative chairman of McCann Worldgroup, said that Eastwood “is an immense talent, but an even better human.”