Hempsons suit sparks Leigh family squabble

Well-known legal siblings Sarah and Bertie Leigh are squabbling over a law-suit against clinical negligence firm Hempsons.

Bolt Burdon’s Louise Kerr is acting for claimant Dennis Walden, who waited six years in vain for his day in court after being injured at work in 1990.

Kerr says angry correspondence between Sarah Leigh, Leigh Day & Co senior partner, and her brother Bertie, Hempsons’ senior partner, may bring Leigh Day into the dispute.

Walden, a general maintenance worker for D & R Services, fractured his spine when he fell 1.63 metres while cleaning at the British Museum.

Hempsons issued proceedings against D & R Services and the museum in December 1991. The summons for directions was not heard until February 1995. Walden then took his case to Leigh Day, which came on the record, in October 1996. The case was eventually struck out in April 1997.

Kerr says: “Although we have written very detailed letters to Hempsons… they haven’t admitted liability and we have been forced to issue proceedings [against Hempsons] and poor Mr Walden is still waiting for compensation.”

Kerr alleges there were substantial periods of inactivity on the case. She adds:”Leigh Day and Hempsons have been arguing about the case.”

The argument is laid bare in a series of biting letters between the Leighs, in which Bertie accuses his sister of luring Walden away.

Sarah responded that she did not know if her brother’s letter was intended to be a joke, but if it wasn’t then he was being “rude and silly to suggest that we lured your wretched client away”.

She concluded that she was never going to agree for her firm to act for a client who had come from Hempsons “in any circumstances”.

Both Sarah and Bertie Leigh declined to comment.