Partnership or Business Disputes

Fraud and breach of trust

We acted for a senior employee in an organization who breached his position of trust by stealing large sums of money from his employer over a period of years in a covert manner.

In addition to a police investigation, the employer instigated a civil claim to recover the money stolen and also substantial additional sums as compensation for damage to the organization, interest on the missing money and substantial legal costs.

After complex and lengthy negotiations, a settlement was reached whereby the ex- employee agreed to repay a certain sum, being a far lower figure than the organization had originally sought from him. This favorable settlement was achieved just prior to sentencing in the criminal court and avoided a potential order for confiscation of assets by the Judge in the criminal case.

Claim against ex-employee in relation to theft of confidential data

We acted for a company where an ex-employee had stolen confidential data.

The evidence became apparent after the employee’s departure from the company following a detailed audit of the company’s computer system. The ex-employee had downloaded confidential information belonging to our client company onto a memory stick and forwarded company emails to his personal email account. A claim was made against the ex-employee and their new employer, who it was alleged was benefiting from the stolen information. The theft was in breach of the employee’s employment contract and contrary to legislation, relating to confidential databases deemed to be subject to legal protection.

After a letter of claim was sent with a threat of court action, a settlement was obtained by the company, which included legally binding promises from the ex-employee to return the information and not to use it in future.

Commercial contract dispute

We acted for a foreign company in a claim against a French multi-national company for damages for breach of contract.

The dispute involved initial considerations of which countries law was applicable, concluding that English law applied. There were a large numbers of documents in three languages, including English. The latter, resulting in multi-million pound losses to our client, unlawfully terminated our client’s contract with the French company. Surprisingly, although the contract had run for a number of years prior to its termination and generated millions of pounds of turnover for our client, there was no written contract document between the parties! As a result, the terms of the contract were hotly disputed by the parties and complex arguments were run in relation to implied terms and custom and usage in that particular industry.

The opponent attempted to strike out most of the client’s claim by way of an application for Summary Judgement in the High Court where we had issued a court claim. This application failed with the result that the opponent had to pay a large costs penalty to our client. Thereafter, faced with a claim that was heading towards trial, the chief executives of the companies reached a financial settlement, which involved a payment of damages to our client company and importantly allowed the parties to continue to trade in the future.

Contractual dispute between professionals

We acted for a professional person who sold his business but continued to work as a Consultant for the new owners. After his retirement, our client brought a claim against the new owners for non-payment of sums, which were due to him.

The documentary evidence of the claim was bulky and complex and it was necessary to instruct a forensic accountant to consider the documentary evidence and prepare a report setting out the basis and value of the claim, which involved work done over a number of years. After service of the expert accountancy evidence, a favourable settlement was reached during court proceedings with payment of damages and costs to our client.

Claim against Director under personal guarantee

We acted for a director in a company, which became insolvent and a personal guarantee given by our client was called in by creditors.

The claim against our client, together with interest approached one million pounds. After Court proceedings had been issued and a mediation meeting had taken place, a favourable settlement was obtained by our client whereby he paid only a modest fraction of his potential liability under the guarantee.

Such a favourable result was obtained due to certain irregularities when the personal guarantee was set up, resulting in a commercial settlement being reached, due to the risks envisaged by both sides, should the case proceed to trial.

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John Simister
Associate Solicitor, Head of Litigation

John heads and manages the Litigation team. He deals with all aspects of litigation, from initial instructions to final court hearings, acts as an advocate and instructs barristers when... Read more

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