Paul Walton – Head of Professional Negligence at Davis Blank Furniss – Discusses Some of His Recent Cases…

Over the past couple of years, professional negligence has become an integral part of Davis Blank Furniss’ offering. We work with many clients on a whole range of cases. Due to confidentiality, we are often unable to name those involved, but the following is a brief snapshot of some recent cases….

Case One: Our client was prosecuted on a criminal allegation. The solicitor representing him made a mess of the investigation, and the barrister persuaded him to plead guilty which resulted in him being sent to prison. Our client sued both the solicitor and barrister for negligent work and advice. We were delighted to recover damages on his behalf.

Case Two: Our client was a director and employee of a company. He came to an agreement to leave and for the company in question to purchase his shares. His solicitors were negligent in the drafting of the agreement because they failed to realise that the company could not purchase shares by instalments. Therefore, the agreement was unenforceable and our client was left without a job and without money. The company sued him for return of the monies which they had paid to him, but he defended and counterclaimed and brought a claim against the solicitors for negligence. We secured a substantial settlement funded jointly by the employers and solicitors.

Case Three: Our client purchased a substantial country house. The surveyor provided a report and valuation but failed to notice grossly inadequate water drainage which caused immense problems at the property. Our client sued the surveyor for professional negligence and damages were recovered. The damages were geared to how much less the property was worth because of the defects which the surveyor had failed to notice.  Damages were awarded to reflect the diminution in value of the property due to the defects present at the property.

Case Four: Our client was a damp proof specialist firm which did some work on a property. The owner of the property sued the firm and the solicitors arranged a joint report from a surveyor. The report was grossly deficient, and the solicitors advised our clients to settle the claim from the property owner. The solicitors failed to tell the clients that Counsel had given advice as to other ways of dealing with the issue. The client settled the owner’s claim, and then sued the solicitors and surveyors for what had been lost. A substantial – jointly funded – settlement was achieved for our clients.

Case Five: Our client sued his pensions advisors who had negligently advised him: to opt for a draw down on the Pension Fund rather than for annuities; and to invest the fund in commercial property. The Pension Fund lost a lot of value due to the commercial property investment, and our client was adversely affected by the draw down as opposed to an annuity. Our client sued the pensions advisors, and a substantial settlement was achieved.

Case Six: Our client was exposed to fumes during his employment. Due to incapacity, he left his job and consulted a solicitor who agreed to pursue a claim for industrial injury and a claim in the Employment Tribunal. His solicitors under settled the industrial injury claim by failing to appreciate the extent of our client’s symptoms. They also didn’t obtain psychiatric/psychological evidence and they failed to pursue the employment claim at all. Our client sued the solicitors. It was a very difficult claim because of the problems in assessing relevant psychiatric/psychological injury, but a substantial settlement achieved.

To learn more about Paul and his work, please visit his Profile Page.

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