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He said; she said: high-profile wins for our Disputes team

In the last six months, the Disputes team at Greenwoods has successfully brought and defended two high-profile claims at trial concerning oral agreements.  Both cases were widely reported in the local and national press, with articles in the Daily Mail and The Times.  They serve as an important reminder that it is essential for anyone to obtain legal advice at the first notice of a disagreement as to the existence and/or terms of an agreement.

Our Disputes team’s successes in the last six months are a testament to its expertise in this area.

Here’s a summary of the cases:

Howard Spooner, who owns and operates several hospitality businesses, found himself defending a claim brought against him by his previous business partner, Sally Johnson, who claimed that she never orally agreed to sell him her share in the hotel business that they ran on the Isle of Wight, and that Mr Spooner had wrongly removed her from the company register.

With conviction in the truth of what occurred, and the support of the Greenwoods team, Mr Spooner counterclaimed for declarations that an agreement had been reached with Mrs Johnson, and for the necessary steps to be taken to perfect the transfer of the share to him.

Separately, Robert Gorham, a successful DJ who goes by the stage name “Rob da Bank”, was pursued by Ticketline, which alleged that he had orally agreed to borrow funds personally to finance the Bestival festival between 2016 and 2018.  The most contentious issue was a mortgage deed that appeared to have been signed by Mr Gorham and his wife as security for the alleged personal loans.

Mr Spooner and Mr Gorham were both successful at trial, with costs awarded in both cases (and indemnity costs for Mr Spooner).  Greenwoods’ forensic attention to detail and considered litigation strategy helped to secure findings of dishonesty against Mrs Johnson as her version of events became implausible when set against the narrative supported by the documents.  A finding was also secured for Mr Gorham that the mortgage deed was a forgery.  The judgment in Mr Spooner’s case can be found here.

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This update is for general purposes and guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should seek legal advice before relying on its content. This update relates to the prevailing circumstances at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments. If you have general queries about our updates, please email: mailinglists@greenwoods.co.uk




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      By completing and submitting this form, you consent to Greenwoods Legal LLP processing your personal data to provide you with the email update services you have selected and any other materials and information about our services that Greenwoods Legal LLP reasonably believes will be of interest to you. You are free to withdraw your consent at any time by emailing mailinglists@greenwoods.co.uk