The TCW-DoubleLine Case is Still Going to Trial
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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The TCW-DoubleLine Case is Still Going to Trial

Fundsters who have been following the legal dispute between TCW [see profile] and Jeff Gundlach can rest assured that the bulk of the case is still slated for trial on July 25. Today a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carl West refused (with one exception) to toss DoubleLine [see profile] (Gundlach's new firm) and Gundlach's accusations that TCW broke its contract with Gundlach. And TCW will also have the chance to make, in the trial, its main claims against DoubleLine and Gundlach of gross misconduct, fiduciary violations and theft of trade secrets.

To read the rest of the story of the fight between Gundlach and TCW, click here.

Also today, one source familiar with the case noted, the two sides met for a mandatory settlement meeting.

Reuters' Dan Levine reported on West's latest rulings.

Gundlach left TCW in 2009 and formed DoubleLine. TCW first filed its suit in January 2010, and Gundlach and DoubleLine fired back with their cross-complaint shortly thereafter.

West denied TCW's request to throw out three of Gundlach's claims in his cross-complaint and agreed only to remove the "unjust enrichment" part of the fourth claim. As for TCW's claims in its suit, West threw out claims alleging that Gundlach broke confidence and violated law governing stolen property, treating both as superseded by TCW's claim under the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act. That claim will move forward.

Kevin Allred, partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson, which represents DoubleLine, called the pair of rulings "a total win for DoubleLine and Mr. Gundlach, and a total defeat for TCW."

"We look forward to trial of the remaining issues in the case," Allred stated.

On the TCW side, Quinn Emanuel partner Susan Estrich told The MFWire that "TCW is confident in its case" and noted the significance of West's words.

"As to Gundlach's contract claim, the Judge ruled that a jury should decide the factual issues now under dispute," Estrich stated. "But in doing so, however, the Judge noted that Gundlach faces an 'uphill climb' in his contract claim because of Gundlach's own 2009 email declaring, quote, 'Jeffrey Gundlach is not under contract with TCW.'"

"As to TCW's claims, the ruling on summary judgment motions chances absolutely nothing in this trial. Not one piece of evidence, and not one dollar of damages, comes off the table," Estrich added. "We are alleging that Jeffrey Gundlach lied to and stole from the company where he worked for 24 years. His integrity, honesty and trustworthiness are on trial. The evidence of his gross misconduct, violation of his fiduciary duties as an officer and director of TCW, and his blatant theft of trade secrets and confidential information is overwhelming."

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