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Lichfield legal firm celebrates double victory

A Lichfield law firm is celebrating after winning two separate construction industry disputes.

In the first case, Traditional Structures Ltd v HW Construction Ltd, Ansons Solicitors represented the claimant Traditional Structures who provided a quote to supply steelwork and roof cladding to the main contractor (HW Construction) relating to the construction of a business development centre at the Birmingham Metropolitan College in Sutton Coldfield.

Traditional Structures faxed and later posted the quote, but the roof cladding element of the quote was omitted from the bottom of the fax page.  However, the copy retained by Traditional Structures had two prices – one for steelwork and one for roof cladding.  HW Construction accepted the quote on the basis of the price in the faxed copy.

Later, as work commenced, variations led to Traditional Structures sending an updated quote with two figures for ‘steelwork’ and ‘roof cladding’.  HW Construction refused to pay for the roof cladding element.

Martin de Ridder

Martin de Ridder

Martin de Ridder, associate solicitor and head of dispute resolution, said:

“The Judge found that Traditional Structures’ mistake was obvious and HW Construction should have been aware of the error and queried it with them.

“The Court ruled in favour of Traditional Structures allowing them to claim against HW Construction for the rectification of the quote on the grounds of a unilateral mistake and for a reasonable price for the work which it had carried out.”

The second case involved a sole trader builder, Mr Rochester, who had started the construction of a house extension for Mr and Mrs Athwal.  While carrying out the building work, Mr Rochester suffered a heart attack and as a result was unable to complete the job. Mr and Mrs Athwal issued a claim against Mr Rochester for breach of contract for failing to complete the building work.

Ansons Solicitors represented Mr Rochester. Mr Ridder said:

“The Judge ruled that Mr Rochester was not in breach of contract because the contract was frustrated when Mr Rochester had his heart attack, thereby bringing any further contractual obligations to an end.  The Judge found that the contract was for personal services as Mr Rochester was a sole trader and ordered Mr and Mrs Athwal to pay Mr Rochester for the services he had provided.

“Mr Rochester was keen to resolve the dispute from the beginning, but due to the other party failing to settle the dispute early the case proceeded to trial. He will now receive payment for all the work he had done and he will recover all costs associated with the court case.”

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11 Comments

  1. Joe R

    8th August, 2010 at 11:19 am

    News…?

  2. Ross

    9th August, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Business news – as identified by the section: Business news.

  3. Freddy

    10th August, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Claiming against someone who hasn’t finished a job because he’s had a heart attack is cold. I’m sure the stress did him the world of good

  4. Barney

    10th August, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    news? or free publicity for the solicitors? surely they have cases like this on the go all the time? come on Lichfield Blog, you’re doing a good job generally, but if this is advertising / sponsorship declare it, if not, this is just taking advantage of you .

  5. Ross

    10th August, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    It’s a subjective issue and one that I’ll inevitably get into a row about with someone at some stage so I’ll just agree to disagree I think, Barney.

  6. Freddy

    11th August, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I reckon you should run more stuff like this. I find the things people will attempt to sue people for fascinating. Our court system has a thousand year history and an easily accessible view into the things that go on is worth a read. Right enough it could be argued that Ansons are getting free publicity but so what? If they’re going to dish up some interesting content then everyone wins.

  7. mikeyboy

    12th August, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    interesting read :) thanks for for posting this!

  8. Barney

    13th August, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    If people are interested in this sort of thing, why don’t you compile a report from the magistrate’s court like the Sutton Observer does?

    It’s the 2 cases at random that seemed off to me – other than from my own experience of PR people trying to raise a company’s profile.

  9. Ross

    14th August, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Cost is the reason we can’t do that – we did apply for funding to do just that but it wasn’t approved. People have to remember that this site is run by volunteers in there spare time, so it’s not always possible for us to do even half the stuff we’d like to.

  10. Freddy

    15th August, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    It’s not two cases at random though is it? It’s two cases that a law firm who sees a local news site as a good way of raising their profile have selected. Why shouldn’t TLB give local business a platform? I can’t see a problem with this, business isn’t evil, not as a default anyway.

    For more controversial business news, the hypothetical story of the local law firm who made a right cock up of a case isn’t going to come from that lawfirm themselves. I’m fairly sure though that if someone knows of a case like that can put together an article that’s properly sourced TLB would run it.

  11. MDR

    16th August, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Barney, it is unusual for two cases like this to get to trial. Whilst disputes like this happen all the time they usually settle before the final hearing. Also the first case, Traditional has set a precedent in the area of the law of mistake, the case has been reported all over the construction and legal press http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/TCC/2010/1530.html.
    IMHO both cases are newsworthy.