Orrick’s London Team Secures Defense Win Against Marathon In Long-Running Dispute

March.14.2017

Orrick’s London team prevailed again in its long-running litigation against Marathon Asset Management LLP, securing a Commercial Court decision awarding costs for our successful representation in the latest phase of the dispute and refusing Marathon permission to appeal.

The decision to award costs stemmed from the court’s recent order involving client James Seddon, who faced a £15 million damages claim asserted by his former employer, Marathon. The court in February found Marathon was entitled to just a nominal sum of £1, rejecting claims Mr Seddon caused any financial harm when he left the firm and noting Marathon should not benefit from “jackpot damages.”

As a result of the damages finding, the court concluded in today’s order that Marathon should pay most of Mr Seddon’s legal costs for contesting the damages claims. The court confirmed that judgment for nominal damages is "a defeat" for Marathon, saying they “opened their mouths too wide.”

This is the latest development in a litigation effort led by London partner Maria Frangeskides, whose team has represented Jeremy Hosking (one of three founders of Marathon, a highly successful investment management business) in long running disputes with his co-founders following his retirement from Marathon in 2012. In previous arbitration matters, our team successfully represented Mr Hosking, enabling him to establish his own investment business -- despite Marathon’s legal efforts to restrain him -- while paying a small portion of the amount Marathon sought following the departure of Mr Hosking's team.

In the latest aspect of this dispute, which was argued before the Commercial Court in November and December 2016, our team represented Mr. Seddon, who was in Mr Hosking’s team at Marathon, and is now a partner with him in their new investment management business, Hosking Partners LLP. Marathon was pursuing Mr Seddon and another member of Hosking’s former team at Marathon for the copying of confidential files, valuing its claim at £15 million. The Commercial Court awarded a total of £2.

“We are pleased with the outcome of this litigation, which has been difficult for our clients,” Maria said. “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." 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.”

In addition to Maria, our team on the Seddon matter included Amanda Voss, Marcus Holmstroem, Harry Denlegh-Maxwell, Max Iles, Emily Yung, Charles Sheldon and Kevin Wong.