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Judge awards asset manager just £2 in £15 million claim

The High Court has awarded an asset manager just £2 after it brought a case against two former employees.

The Court heard how Marathon Asset Management’s co-founder Jeremy Hosking had left the firm in 2012, amid growing tensions between fellow founders Neil Ostrer and William Arah.

Mr Hosking later went on to set up a rival firm in 2013. In a separate claim, Marathon accused Mr Hosking of breaching “contractual and fiduciary duties”, for which it won £1.38 million in damages.

Marathon subsequently launched a second claim against former employees James Seddon and Luke Bridgeman, who joined Mr Hosking’s firm in 2014.

Demanding £15 million in compensation, the company alleged that they took around 40,000 computer files with them when they left to join the new rival firm.

The Court noted that Marathon had exaggerated its claim somewhat, being that just 37,296 files were found to have been downloaded.

It also found that just 52 of these were accessed by the pair, seven of which being presentations made to clients, and around 11 containing client information.

Mr Seddon and Mr Bridgeman argued that the files were on public record, but accepted liability.

Judge George Leggatt ruled that the pair should pay £1 each for downloading the files.

He said: “Overall, there is a vast gulf between the extent of the use which Marathon says could potentially have been made of the files removed by Mr Bridgeman – on which its claim for damages is based, and the very limited use which the evidence shows was in fact made of them.

“I have rejected the basis on which Marathon has claimed substantial damages.

“Marathon has therefore missed the jackpot and is entitled only to nominal damages. Judgment will be entered for Marathon against Mr Bridgeman and Mr Seddon, in each case for a sum of £1.”

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