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Eversheds Sutherland successfully advises GEHC in claims of misconduct against Rosenblatt Solicitors

  • Global
  • United Kingdom

    20-08-2020

    Representing a client in a complex claim

    Eversheds Sutherland has advised Global Energy Horizons Corporation (GEHC) in its claim against The Winros Partnership (formerly known as Rosenblatt Solicitors) relating to the legality of three Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs) alongside numerous allegations of misconduct against Rosenblatt.

    As preliminary issues, the court considered GEHC’s claim that all three CFAs entered into with Rosenblatt were unenforceable and in any event wrongly terminated. As such, Rosenblatt wrongly claimed costs despite the existence of unenforceable ‘no-win, no-fee’ CFAs. The court also considered related allegations of impropriety, including Rosenblatt mispresenting to its client that monies were owed.

    The judgment, handed down on Thursday 20 August 2020, found for GEHC in relation to all the preliminary issues. Master James noted that Rosenblattleft GEHC’s bests interests in their rear view mirror” and “favoured its own interests over its client’s”. The Judgment found that Rosenblatt had inter-alia misrepresented to GEHC:

    • that one of the CFAs had come to an end, before wrongly and unclearly invoicing the claimant for monies allegedly owed
    • that a win had been achieved under a later CFA and that additional fees of £7million were due
    • maintained that GEHC had agreed to gift Rosenblatt in excess of £2million, such sum including £640,000 in irrecoverable success fees, Rosenblatt maintaining that they had explained to GEHC that there was no contractual entitlement.
    • further, Rosenblatt failed to keep any records of either the alleged advice or the alleged agreement. 

    The conduct of the matter was punctuated by poor or non-existent written communications, on which Master James remarked:

    This is one of a number of occasions upon which a very important event, involving a large sum of money, has allegedly happened but in respect of which there is no paper trail to verify it, in spite of the fact that Rosenblatt is a commercial law firm and well-versed in the importance of reducing important agreements to writing.”

    The Eversheds Sutherland team was led by Financial Services Disputes and Investigations Partners David Flack and Mark Cooper, and Glenn Newberry, Head of Costs and Litigation Funding.

    Glenn Newberry, commented:

    “We’re delighted the judgment found for GEHC on all counts. This is a significant case, being one of the first to find a post-2005 CFA to be unenforceable following the abolition of the 2000 CFA Regulations in 2005, as well as tackling what became an ever growing number of incidences of misconduct. The team faced numerous challenges during proceedings, including a lack of documentary evidence, no correspondence nor file notes of conversations of the advice which Rosenblatt purported to have provided to GEHC in respect of the unusual and complex fee agreements.”

    Brian De Clare, President of GEHC, commented:

    “GEHC engaged Eversheds Sutherland in early 2016 to investigate our rights following Rosenblatt’s refusal to release the sum of £1.1M received from the counter-party, such refusal being in breach of an agreement which had been reached 5 months earlier. Eversheds Sutherland immediately pointed out to us a number of irregularities in our CFAs with Rosenblatt and on further investigation, unearthed a catalogue of misconduct incidents stretching back over a number of years. We are extremely grateful to the Eversheds Sutherland team and Ben Williams QC at 4 New Square for their expertise, hard work and perseverance on this difficult to comprehend matter.”

    The case was heard in the Senior Courts Cost Office in London.  The hearing lasted 10 days in 2018, including eight days of live evidence. The defendant has sought permission to appeal.

    This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.

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