Morningstar case moves to next step

Thelegal battle between Graham Rich andMorningstar Australiaand Morningstar Incorporated lurched ahead last week after the Federal Court gave directions that the two separate legal actions underway by Rich be combined into a single NSW Supreme Court case.

Rich’s departure from Morningstar two years ago, after holding the post of managing director, sparked the two legal actions, with one initiated through the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) for unfair dismissal seeking $25 million in compensation.

The second case is with the NSW Supreme Court and concerns breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and oppression, but will now become the only case to be pursued after the Federal Court ruled cross-vesting had occurred between the cases and they should be treated as a single action.

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The move also resulted in the case not being elevated to the Federal Court, which had been raised as part of the proceedings in deciding the jurisdiction under which the cases would be heard.

Morningstar had also requested a claim on security for the costs to fully pursue the case, stating it would cost $3.5 million, and had questioned whether similar funds were available to Rich.

This had been countered, with Rich stating his holdings in Morningstar, through his own company Fiduciary, were sufficient to act as security and cover the amount needed to complete the legal action.

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