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High Court tells 'open mouthed' fund giant to accept £2 award

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High Court tells 'open mouthed' fund giant to accept £2 award

Marathon Asset Management has been ordered to cover the majority of legal costs in its long running dispute with a former employee and accept the nominal award it received.  

Marathon was awarded £2 last month by the High Court in a case against James Seddon and Luke Bridgeman, who quit the firm for a rival. 

Marathon, was demanding £15 million in damages for the defection, claiming the pair had taken important documents with them.

The fund firm has also been ordered to bear the brunt of Seddon's legal costs for contesting the claim up to 24 February 2016 and all of his costs following this date. 

Seddon was told to split payment of the £2 award with Bridgeman in last month's ruling. 

In the latest judgement, the court rejected claims that Seddon caused financial harm when he left the firm, with judge George Leggatt asserting Marathon should not benefit from 'jackpot damages'.

The court also confirmed Marathon would not be able to appeal the decision, describing the judgement for nominal damages as 'a defeat' for Marathon, saying it had 'opened their mouths too wide'.

Seddon was represented by law firm Orrick, which has in the past represented Jeremy Hosking, one of Marathon's three co-founders who also found himself embroiled in a legal battle with the firm after defecting to set up his own business in 2012, which managed $50 billion (£40 billion) at the time.  

Seddon and Bridgeman left Marathon to join Hosking in 1 January 2014. 

'We are pleased with the outcome of this litigation, which has been difficult for our clients,' Orrick partner Maria Frangeskides said in a statement.

'We are gratified the court has agreed that Marathon should not win the jackpot damages it sought having suffered no financial loss.

'The judge regarded the offer by our client to settle as "a game-changer" which "rendered the dispute academic" and cast Marathon's decision to pursue the claim "in a very different light".' 

She added: 'In our view, Marathon’s tactics were primarily an attempt to disrupt Jeremy Hosking’s business and tarnish the reputations of his two partners, including Mr Seddon. This allows them to do what they have wanted to do all along – move forward with their new business.'

Withers partner Stephen Ross, who represented Bridgeman, added: 'This is a great result for our client Luke Bridgeman and his co-defendant.

'The case neatly illustrates the importance of making a realistic claim. Marathon has spent up to £10 million on its own legal fees to recover £1 from our client and now faces paying millions more in costs to the defendant.'   

A spokesperson for Marathon said: 'They [Seddon and Bridgeman] stole documents belonging to Marathon and when asked by Marathon's solicitors to confirm whether they had removed any documents, they lied and falsely claimed that they had not done so.'

 

 

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