Pimco urges dismissal of 'Bond King' Bill Gross' lawsuit

Mon Nov 9, 2015 3:11pm EST
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By Jonathan Stempel and Jennifer Ablan

(Reuters) - Saying the billionaire known as the "Bond King" should cease engaging in "reputational warfare," Pacific Investment Management Co said co-founder Bill Gross' lawsuit accusing it of driving him out so others could divvy up his bonus should be thrown out.

In papers filed on Monday with a state court in Orange County, California, Pimco and its parent Allianz SE said Gross failed in his $200 million lawsuit to allege that they breached his contract or coerced his Sept. 2014 exit. They also said Gross could have been fired at any time without cause.

Gross' departure from Newport Beach, California-based Pimco followed months of negative reports about his management style, as well as weak performance at Pimco Total Return, which he had built into the world's largest bond fund by assets.

"The complaint, parts of which read more like a screenplay than a court pleading, uses irrelevant and false personal attacks on Mr. Gross's former colleagues in an apparent effort to distract attention from the fundamental failings of these 'contract' claims," the defendants said in Monday's filing.

"Pimco has moved forward since Mr. Gross's resignation," they added. "It is time for him to do the same, instead of treating this court as a forum to engage in the kind of reputational warfare embodied in his legally groundless complaint."

A hearing is set for March 14, 2016.

Patricia Glaser, a lawyer for Gross, said "we are disappointed" at Pimco's filing, "but are confident in our case moving forward. Notably, Pimco's papers do not dispute the substance of Mr. Gross's allegations in any material way."

A spokeswoman for Janus Capital Group Inc, where Gross now works, said: "This is a personal matter for Bill and unrelated to Janus."   Continued...

Bill Gross speaks at the Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago, Illinois, June 19, 2014.   REUTERS/Jim Young