Pacific Investment Management Co said former bond manager Bill Gross' abusive conduct and effort to sabotage colleagues he deemed disloyal gave it "good cause" to oust him, and not pay any of the more than $200 million of damages he now seeks in a lawsuit.
In a Monday filing with the California Superior Court in Santa Ana, Pimco also said Gross acted unprofessionally when he "abruptly quit" the firm in a handwritten scrawl left behind in the middle of the night for colleagues to find the next morning.
The Newport Beach, California-based firm's response ratchets up the legal dispute that began last October when Gross sued Pimco, accusing executives of plotting to oust him from the firm he helped found more than 40 years ago and divide up his bonus.
Patricia Glaser, a lawyer for Gross, said in response that the lawsuit targeted a "money grab" by Pimco executives who wanted "a bigger piece of the pie - the piece that based on his contract belonged to Bill."
Gross, a billionaire, is now a portfolio manager for Denver-based Janus Capital Group Inc, and has pledged to donate proceeds from the lawsuit to charity. Janus said the lawsuit is a personal matter for him.
Pimco is a unit of German insurer Allianz SE.