The following are examples of some of our successful professional negligence cases:
Case Study 1 - Clinical Negligence
In March 2004, the estate of Mrs G instructed a leading Birmingham law firm in connection with a claim for clinical negligence against two GP’s for their failure to detect that Mrs G was suffering from breast cancer. Sadly, by the time Mrs G became aware, it had spread and she passed away. Proceedings were started in October 2005 but the GP’s relied on a limitation defence. An application was made to disapply the limitation periods under Section 33 of the Limitation Act 1980. This was unsuccessful and the claim was dismissed with costs. We brought a claim for professional negligence on the basis that the estate had lost the opportunity of recovering damages due to the 18 month delay, from being instructed to starting Court proceedings, on the part of the solicitors. The claim was settled for £145,000 plus costs
Case Study 2 - Brokers Negligence
The Claimant company ran a diving school and instructed their brokers to arrange their public and product liability insurance; their cover was purported to have increased from £1 million to £2 million. Following a fatality on a course run by the company, a claim for personal injury was brought against the company by the estate of the deceased. A dispute arose as to the level of the insurance cover and whether the additional cover related solely to the export of diving products in the United States. Proceedings were issued against both the brokers and their insurers for breach of contract and negligence, and were subsequently compromised following settlement of the fatality claim.
Case Study 3 - Surveyors Undervaluation
Mr E instructed a local surveyor to provide a valuation for two properties, owned by him, in Edgbaston. One property was used as offices and the other as student accommodation. The surveyor valued both properties in the total sum of £110,000, on the basis of being freehold with vacant possession. Relying upon the valuation, Mr E sold the properties to a limited company. A few months later, he obtained a further valuation which indicated a value of £110,000 for each property. Proceedings were brought against the surveyor for negligence, for undervaluing the properties. The surveyor vigorously denied liability, saying that the valuations had been valued on their existing uses at the time. The claim proceeded to trial and was settled, with the surveyor paying damages of £117,000 plus costs.
Case Study 4 - 14 year Solicitors Negligence battle
In 1991, a large Birmingham practice was instructed by Mrs L on a claim against the estate of her late husband for inadequate provision under the Inheritance Act, as he had left her only a life interest in the former matrimonial home. The solicitors applied for legal aid and advised Mrs L that she had good prospects of success. Proceedings were brought but the solicitors failed to prosecute the claim diligently and became sidetracked in settlement discussions and the tracing of one of the beneficiaries. The solicitors failed to apply for a trial date and, in 2005, some 14 years later, Mrs L passed away, thereby losing any claim she had for inheritance. We brought a claim for negligence against the solicitors. Liability was denied on both causation and limitation. However, we successfully settled the claim by mediation in favour of the estate, including costs.
Case Study 5 - Mishandled Claim
Mr A instructed a firm of solicitors in Leeds to pursue a claim against his former employers for breach of contract. Despite having the necessary documentation, no claim was brought. By the time that Mr A had instructed other solicitors, his former employers had ceased trading. We brought a claim for negligence for Mr A’s loss of opportunity of recovering compensation against his former solicitors. The solicitors sought to argue that Mr A had not mitigated his loss and applied for summary judgment. They were unsuccessful and the claim was settled by the solicitors, together with costs.
Case Study 6 - Freezing Order
Mr P instructed a large national firm, in Sheffield, in connection with a claim for the repayment of a loan made to a former employee. Mr P informed the solicitors that the employee was to receive some £25,000 from the proceeds of the sale of her property and that she was likely to squander this unless action was taken. Despite this, the solicitors issued County Court proceedings in the usual way. Judgment was obtained but, by the time enforcement measures were taken, the employee had no assets. A claim for professional negligence was brought for the solicitor’s failure to apply for a freezing order when they had notice that the employee was going to dispose of her assets. The solicitors argued that there were no grounds for such an application. However, the claim was settled on a loss of chance basis.
Case Study 7 - Lease Liability after sale
Mr and Mrs B were the owners of florists in Solihull. They decided to sell their business, including their lease, to a Mrs T and instructed local solicitors to prepare the necessary documentation, including an assignment of the lease. However, unknown to them, the solicitors failed to obtain the consent of the head landlord to the assignment. Some six years later, Mr and Mrs B received a demand from the head landlord of some £48,000 for rent arrears and dilapidations incurred by Mrs T. She had vacated the premises and Mr and Mrs B remained liable under the terms of the lease. We brought proceedings for negligence against the solicitors for their failure to obtain an assignment of the lease prior to completion. Mr and Mrs B would not have sold the business had they been aware that they would have any future liability to the landlord. Proceedings were successfully settled with an indemnity and costs.
Case Study 8 - Drafting Error
Mrs M instructed her solicitors in connection with a dispute with her son. She had brought a property with him and made a significant contribution on the deposit; her son then took out a mortgage and agreed to be solely responsible for the repayments. The parties fell out and it was agreed to sell the property, which had increased in value. Negotiations took place and the solicitors advised Mrs M that she should receive 20% of the net proceeds of sale, following the sale, to reflect her contribution to the purchase price. However, the solicitors agreed to a consent order whereby Mrs M received 20% after deduction of the mortgage. As a result, Mrs M only received what she had originally paid, whilst her son obtained a windfall due to the solicitor’s oversight. We successfully brought proceedings for professional negligence and settled the claim for Mrs M with costs.
Case Study 9- No title after purchase
Mr A instructed his solicitors on the purchase of a property in Perry Barr. Unknown to him, the solicitors delayed in registering his title at the Land Registry for five months after the end of the priority period. A month after completion, the Vendors estranged wife registered a Notice under the Matrimonial Homes Act. Several years later, Mr A sought to remortgage the property and then became aware of the Notice. The Vendor and his estranged wife continued with bitter divorce proceedings and refused to withdraw the Notice. Initial attempts to persuade the Land Registry that the Notice should be removed were unsuccessful. A claim for negligence was brought against the solicitors. Some five years after his purchase, the Land Registry cancelled the Notice and the property was registered in Mr A ‘s name. We successfully obtained recovery of Mr A costs in the dealings with the Land Registry against the solicitors.
Case Study 10 – Title defect
Mr P and Miss S instructed their solicitors on the purchase of a property in Dudley. The solicitor failed to advise the client that the driveway to the house did not form part of the title. The title was rectified and we successfully obtained damages for the client for the associated costs.