(Bloomberg) -- Corinthia Global Management, the upstart private credit manager that poached more than 20 employees from Barings in March, has asked a judge to dismiss the asset manager’s lawsuit against it.

Corinthia argues that Barings hasn’t put forth any facts to show it has suffered the harms it claims to have incurred from the team lift, according to a Friday filing in a North Carolina court.

Barings, which has called its former employees’ move “one of the largest corporate raids at an asset manager in years,” has said its lawsuit is aimed at preventing Corinthia from poaching any more employees or soliciting Barings clients. The investment firm argues that two ex-staffers — Ian Fowler and Kelsey Tucker — are violating their contracts by misappropriating and misusing the firm’s confidential information. 

Read more: Barings Bemoans One of ‘Largest Corporate Raids’ in Years 

A representative for Corinthia declined to comment. A representative for Barings said in an email that, “We have full conviction in the merits of our suit and will not sit idly by and allow the defendants’ misconduct to occur.”

Corinthia’s rebuttal spends pages outlining each of Barings’ various claims of harm, such as misappropriation of trade secrets, and arguing that the claims lack any evidence.  

Following the initial lawsuit, and before any former Barings employees started working at the new asset manager, Corinthia entered into a “Stipulated Injunction Order” with Barings, according to the filing. 

This agreement obliged Corinthia to use reasonable best efforts to have the former Barings employees certify they had returned any confidential information, would not use any confidential information and would honor any non-solicitation and notice periods in the employees’ contracts. 

“In an era where every member of the Barings GPF group was visible on LinkedIn, it would be unreasonable to infer that Corinthia required inside assistance to identify and contact the relevant employees,” according to the filing, referring to the Global Private Finance group.

Corinthia also notes that, “Barings’ U.S. employees appear to have been employed ‘at will’ and their employment agreements do not appear to have contained non-competition provisions.”

Corinthia is led by Paul Weightman, an Australian investment veteran who was previously the executive chairman of Cromwell Property Group, and backed by Japan’s Nomura Holdings Inc. Barings is owned by US insurance company MassMutual.

Team Lift

The suit is fallout from the evening of Friday, March 8, when 22 Barings employees in its lucrative private credit business suddenly quit en masse, sending shock waves across the market. It marked one of the largest team lifts at an alternative asset manager in recent years, and especially hit the company’s Europe team.

Private credit has grown rapidly to $1.7 trillion of assets under management globally and the competition for talent is hot as many investment firms try to break into the space either through buying other managers or hiring their employees. 

The departures caused Barings to pause making new investments across certain private credit funds while it transitioned to new leadership. The firm then laid out a plan to rebuild its direct-lending team, and told investors that it would hire three managing directors in North America to help with origination, as well as three more in Europe.

Defendant Kelsey Tucker, the former head of global operations at Barings, asked a judge to keep her out of the lawsuit earlier this week. She argued that her former employer’s claims against her are “frivolous” and don’t show that any valid contract was broken, according to filings. Tucker left Barings over a year ago due to the firm’s culture and any non-solicitation obligations she had expired “months ago,” she argues in court papers. Then defendant Ian Fowler followed with a motion to dismiss the case against him, according to court filings. 

The case is Barings LLC v. Ian Fowler, 24CV012798-590, Mecklenburg Superior Court in North Carolina.

--With assistance from Silas Brown and Madlin Mekelburg.

(Updates from fourth paragraph with details from filing, background.)

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