Law firm must pay €8.5m over deal

A leading corporate and commercial law firm must pay €8.5m to a business because a failure to properly register a property meant the business lost a €10m offer from truck importer Pino Harris to buy it, the High Court has ruled.

Law firm must pay €8.5m over deal

LK Shields solicitors’ full liability to Rosbeg Partners, owned by businessman Bob Stewart, will, however, be higher than €8.5m because it includes other losses suffered by Rosbeg as a result of the sale not going ahead “at the height of the property bubble” in 2007, Mr Justice Michael Peart said.

The property, unit 520, Western Industrial Estate, Naas Rd, Dublin, adjoins lands owned by Mr Harris on Naas Rd, where he has his truck assembly business.

Since Mr Harris made his €10m offer in 2007 its value dropped to €1.5m and it remains unsold. Rosbeg Partners claimed as a result of losing out on the offer, it was unable to pay off an €8m loan from AIB.

LK Shields accepted it had not been properly registered, but denied this was why the sale did not go ahead. There was no evidence the €10m offer was accepted by Rosbeg because it was holding out for more money, the firm argued.

The judge adjourned for two weeks the making of an order against LK Shields because, as well as the €8.5m loss, the interest Rosbeg paid on its €8m borrowings will have to be calculated, as will capital gains tax.

The court heard that, in 1994, Rosbeg bought the Naas Rd property, comprising five lots, from Packaging Resources Ltd for IR£765,000.

Rosbeg retained LK Shields to do that conveyancing, which went through, but there was an outstanding problem with a map relating to one of the lots. Between 1996 and 2000, LK Shields endeavoured to get Packaging Resources’ solicitors sort out the mapping problem.

While the mappingproblem existed, there were no practical consequences for Rosbeg until the decision to sell in 2007.

A spokesman for LK Shields said: “ “An appeal is under active consideration by the insurer’s legal team who are handling this matter.”

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