The $35 million TCW-Gundlach Trial a ‘Grudge Match’

The $35 million TCW-Gundlach Trial a ‘Grudge Match’


Lawyers are the only definite winners in the legal row between Jeffrey Gundlach and TCW, expert witnesses, as well as public relations companies that have been dragged into the most expensive courtroom skirmish in money management industry’s history.

According to those who are familiar with the case, total costs could potentially top $35 million, the major portion of it is in form of legal fees that by themselves easily go beyond $30 million.

Attorney Daniel Westman, the chairman of the trade secrets committee of the American Intellectual Property Lawyers Association in Virginia, said, “This is not your typical case. It’s more of a grudge match than a dispute about the stealing of commercial trade secrets.”

According to a data from the American Intellectual Property Lawyers Association, the median price tag of legal fees in a trade secrets trial worth over $25 million at stake is around $4 million. For its latest report, the association has monitored cases from mid-2009 to early 2011.

However in grudge cases according to Mr. Westman, each party throws at each other as many lawyers as they could. “It may not make economic sense, but it makes emotional sense,” said Mr. Westman.

The lawyers of Mr. Gundlach insist that their client would walked away from it all if TCW had also dropped the lawsuit it filed, while officials of TCW deny that there is something personal to the current legal proceedings. Peter Viles, spokesman for TCW, said, “We have said all along this is a business dispute.”